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This Father’s Day, Lil Rel Howery has a ‘Eureka!’ moment with son Judah

An animated dad high-fives his daughter with one hand and holds a broom in the other.
Eureka (Ruth Righi) and Rollo (Lil Rel Howery) in Disney Jr.'s animated movie “Eureka!”
(Disney Jr.)

Lil Rel Howery and his son Judah get to celebrate Father’s Day in real life and as animated characters on the Disney Jr. animated show “Eureka!”

In the new series, which premieres Wednesday, Howery and “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry are Rollo and Roxy, mom and dad to Eureka (Ruth Righi), a young Black girl who is an inventor who designs contraptions in the hopes of making the world (and her prehistoric town of Rocky Falls) a better place.

“I’ve always wanted to play a cartoon dad. And I bring to it a lot of the stuff I’m doing from feature films to animated. Really leaning into the father role of things,” says Howery. “I’m a big Steve Martin fan and I think some of his greatest work was that father stuff, you know what I mean?”

It’s a career milestone just about every actor aspires to achieve: the time when he or she no longer has to audition.

For the record:

7:12 p.m. June 21, 2022An earlier version of this article said “Eureka!” is from the creators of “Doc McStuffins.” It is from an animation studio, Brown Bag Films, that worked on the latter show. Chris Nee created “Doc McStuffins.” Also, a hyperlink that led to an article about Nee has been removed.

The show, from an animation studio behind “Doc McStuffins,” puts a strong emphasis on science and kids problem-solving: creating pulley systems, making a pizza using volcanic steam, etc. It’s a younger, smarter, more inclusive update of “The Flintstones.”

“I mean, it’s this cool, inventive young Black girl who basically created the wheel,” said Howery. “It’s so important, and I applaud Disney for doing a show like this.”

Two animated kids sitting on painted rocks
Twins Spruce and Cypress Stoneland, voiced by Judah Howery, on the Disney Jr. show “Eureka!”
(Disney Jr.)
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Howery is proud of the show’s diversity, and the fact that it’s on a channel his 11-year-old son is familiar with helps too. Judah, who voices twins Spruce and Cypress Stoneland, has been in other projects with his dad but is particularly excited for this one.

“I grew up watching stuff like this. Stuff on Disney Jr. That’s what drew me to it,” said Judah. “It is really cool to be able to do stuff with my dad. Pretty much all of the things I’ve been on is with him and it feels good to hear what he thinks about stuff — like how I should do this or that. And bringing his comedic stuff into it I think it really helps.”

“When you hire me, you gotta know what you’re getting. And they were very open to that. When I watched the first two episodes, I almost teared up a little bit because I was just so happy to hear my voice attached to something like that. Like Judah just said, my babies grew up watching that channel,” said Howery.

Lil Rel Howery, who played Jerrod Carmichael’s brother Bobby on NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” and was recently the big-screen star of “Uncle Drew” (and a scene stealer in Get Out”), has a series of his own now on Fox simply called “Rel,” getting a preview Sunday (after football) before it begins its regular run Sept. 30.

Howery also has in the pipeline “I Love My Dad” (2022) and “Harold and the Purple Crayon” (2023), two projects that explore father-son relationships. Coincidental?

“You saw Eddie Murphy do that at one point in his career. He did ‘Daddy Day Care’ and a bunch of dad stuff. At some point you get excited about doing things that your kids can actually watch,” said Howery.


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