By Francesca Conlin | December 21, 2015 | People
We talked to London Brown from HBO show Ballers about what fans can expect in the second season, what it’s like to work with Dwayne Johnson, and how he spends his free time.
Although HBO’s new hit series Ballers focuses on the lives of NFL players, and stars acting heavyweights like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, London Brown who is best known as “Fat Reggie,” is a bright spot on the roster of talented cast members. As a recently retired standout, Brown plays the money-hungry, womanizing, club-hopping handler for his childhood friend Vernon Littlefield (Donovan Carter), who is Dallas Cowboys’ prized defensive tackle.
When he’s not snorting cocaine and mishandling Vernon’s money on the show, Brown is hitting up another type of club—a comedy club, that is—to perform his material alongside the likes of Katt Williams, Tony Rock, and Kevin Hart. And even more unlike his character (to the disappointment of some), who has quickly become one of the notorious and hated characters on Ballers, the real-life Brown is rarely out partying, and is more likely helping out the less fortunate and chatting with fans on the street. We caught up with the comedian and actor to find out what viewers can expect in season two, the only kind of fight he thinks he can win against 'The Rock,' and how he got his start in comedy.
Ballers has been renewed for a second season, congratulations! Can you give us any insight as to what viewers should expect?
LONDON BROWN: There will probably be some new faces with the cast, and a more interesting plot at least with my character, Fat Reggie. He is trying to make some life changes, but he’s still finding himself in [many] issues. I think we’ll be pushing the envelope a little bit with the season, and even with Fat Reggie. He’s trying to be more responsible [...] but he puts his boy Vernon in [some] shaky situations, things that can question their friendship.
Are you filming season two right now?
LB: We’ve been filming season two since October, so I’ll be on set [for a day or two] before Christmas.
What is it like working with Dwayne Johnson?
LB: Dwayne is an extremely nice guy—he does really well at setting the tone for the atmosphere [on set], and I think it's because he’s so down-to-earth; there’s no ego or anything from him. I feel more focused working with Dwayne, so we support what he's doing, and we believe in what he's doing.
Your characters have some bad blood between them. Is it possible to actually win a fight with ‘The Rock’?
LB: Let me see, would I win a fight with Dwayne in real life? If it’s physical, I can’t. We’ve seen that in episode three the first season, where he pushed me with three fingers. But if we had a fight about something like [rapping] or if it was something artistic, I would get him. But I can’t beat him, not physically—you’ve got to pick and choose your fights.
London Brown as Reggie, with his friend Vernon, on HBO show Ballers.
Where did the nickname ‘Fat Reggie’ come from?
LB: I think the role was supposed to be for someone heavier, at least this is my theory [...] but hopefully as the season develops, we will have a chance to get more of that story on why Reggie behaves the way he does, his background, things like his name, and create an interesting backstory that will work toward the storyline on the show.
Your character hits up a lot of clubs and bars in Miami on the show. Are there any spots you like to frequent personally?
LB: I spend so much time reading and doing things like [feeding] the homeless. Sometimes in my downtime, I’ll go out and photograph homeless people, sit down and talk with them, and feed them. I’m not really out and about like I can be; I have enjoyed a meal or two at Prime 112, [but] I’m still really just finding my way in Miami because our schedules are all over the place. I pride myself on home cooking [and] working on my lines.
What a lot of people might not know is that you’re also a comedian. How did you start doing that?
LB: I started about five years ago; I was teaching in LA and they had a fundraiser for the kids—it was a comedy show. I inquired about it, and the assistant principal signed me up to do it. From there, I started working open mike; but there’s a difference between wanting to do stand-up and deciding to do stand-up. I’ve always wanted to do it, but after that particular show, it was when I decided to do it. I started working the club regularly, and one night, Chris Tucker was in there. The host, DeRay Davis, told him that he should take a look at me, and I did at the time whatever my strongest five minutes was. [Chris Tucker and I] exchanged numbers, and I started touring with him. I became his opener from 2011 to 2013, [for about] three years.
What can we expect from London Brown next?
LB: I’m sure film will be the next thing I want to definitely jump into—film, as well as continuing to work on my stand-up. Those are the next big things that I see happening, and it will happen. It’s a matter of timing and getting things lined up.