Luenell is a force of nature. Born in Tollette, Arkansas, this talented comedienne, actress and singer moved to the Oakland area of California, at the age of 2 months. The daughter of an Army father and a mother who worked for the Tyson Chicken Plant (Luenell is the youngest of 8 siblings), Luenell caught the acting bug early in life after seeing the plays South Pacific and Ain’t S’posed To Die A Natural Death. She enrolled in Theatre classes in grade school and continued her studies through college (earning a BA in English from Cal State Hayward), eventually joining the Oakland Ensemble Theatre. During her time in the Bay area, she had a stint in the longest running Cabaret show (still) in San Francisco – “Beach Blanket Babylon.” She got her early television experience (both in behind and in front of the camera) with the Soul Beat Television Network, working as an on-air host and VJ for several years.
In March of 1995, Luenell’s mother passed away suddenly – and one month later she discovered she was pregnant. Soon after, a beautiful daughter, Da’Nelle, was born and she is the joy of her life, her “miracle child” as Luenell puts it. Soon after, Luenell relocated to Los Angeles, where in addition to her acting and theatre work, she embarked on an additional, and highly successful, career as a stand-up comedienne. Luenell was living in Long Beach with a “call girl” roommate who had a comedian “boyfriend” that dared her to perform at a comedy room he was hosting called Ms. Whiz. Luenell’s bawdy, brash personality and sense of humor was a hit and she immediately caught the attention of fixtures on the Los Angeles comedy scene, such as the late great Robin Harris and rising comedy star D.L. Hughley – who Luenell opened for when she was starting out.
While building a name for herself in the world of stand-up, Luenell never gave up her big dream of conquering Hollywood. With initial appearances in films So I Married An Axe Murderer, The Rock, Never Die Alone and television shows “Nash Bridges” and “The Tracy Morgan Show,” it was Luenell’s breakout performance as the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ in the blockbuster 20th Century Fox film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (starring Sacha Baron Cohen) that truly brought her international fame. The demand for Luenell was never greater. Combining her love of acting with stand-up, Luenell was soon segueing her standup into television/video appearances of her act, with guest appearances on “BET’s Comicview”, “Jamie Foxx’s Laffapalooza”, “Comedy After Dark “and “Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up.” Katt Williams tapped Luenell to join his two-year tour and DVDs, “Katt Williams’ American Hustle.” “It was the tour of a lifetime” recalls Luenell. “We went from a tour bus and commercial flights and shows at the Improv to selling out Radio City Music Hall and flying on a G5.”
With her schedule busier than ever, this sought after performer has also appeared in such television series' as Starz’ “Head Case,” “Chocolate News” (with David Alan Grier), “Californication,” “The Boondocks,” “The Middle,” “Breaking In” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” as well as stand-up appearances in “Snoop Dogg's Bad Girls of Comedy” on SHOWTIME and “Stand-up In Stilettos” on the TV Guide Network. And her presence on the big screen is continuous, with appearances in the films Spring Breakdown (with Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Parker Posey), All About Steve (with Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper), the # 1 (for 2 weeks) comedy Think Like A Man (with Meagan Good, Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson) and two back-to-back films with Adam Sandler in 2012: That’s My Boy and Hotel Transylvania, as well as the sequel blockbuster with Liam Neeson, Taken 2.
Luenell continues to tour internationally with her stand-up, and between working in various television and film roles, she hosts a regular spot called “Between The Sheets With Luenell” on the Cannon’s Countdown Radio Show. Luenell is very proud of her charity work (especially The Kierrah Foundation – which works with girls who age-out of the social services system). She has also been personally touched by, and is an advocate for, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS (especially Pediatric AIDS). Luenell has received many accolades over the years, from her Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly (signed by Mike Davis) to being named “One of the top 25 funniest people in LA” by Los Angeles Magazine (to name only a few). She recently landed another writing credit by creating and co-scripting a piece called The Burn Unit for “Funny Or Die Presents...” on HBO.
Of her numerous future goals, Luenell will be starting her own production company. She wants to star on her own weekly scripted series, and conquer what she likes to call ‘her 4 b’s’ (busses, bus stops, billboards & buildings). Luenell also wants to tackle more dramatic roles and hopes to be a mentor and nurture other young artists starting out in the business.
Luenell is living her dream. With such an intriguing past, one would wonder how she can be so funny, but it’s just that…life. Her reputation as a comic superstar continues to flourish, being called “a comedy demolition machine” (EURweb Report), “a sidesplitting highwire act without a net…” (Scoop LA), “…comedy to die for” (Metro LA) “, and the accolades continue to roll.