Yassir Lester does double duty on ‘Black Monday,’ ‘Duncanville’

Meet the multi-talented Yassir Lester

Yassir Lester

Yassir Lester considers himself a writer and stand-up comic who happens to get nice acting jobs working with talented people. Not an actor, per se.

But he knows he’s got a good thing going. In co-starring in two current series – as trader Yassir in Season 3 of the Sunday Showtime comedy “Black Monday” (on which he also serves as a writer) and providing the voice of Yangzi in Season 2 of Fox’s animated Monday sitcom “Duncanville” – the 36-year-old Georgia native stays busy year-round and gets to count the likes of Don Cheadle, Amy Poehler, Regina Hall, Rashida Jones, Casey Wilson, Paul Scheer and Andrew Rannells as his colleagues.

“I keep getting thrown into these situations where it’s not just everyone on this show is new,” Lester explains. “It’s people who are super-famous and established and then I have to run and catch up with them, essentially, or try my hardest. … Just all these people who are just so good and are in it for real and know their voice and know their timing and have done this. And here’s me just putting on a goofy little (voice) hoping it works out.”

“Black Monday,” in particular, gives him ample opportunity to stretch his comedy muscles both as a writer and an actor. Creators Jordan Cahan and David Caspe assembled a cast capable of going off script and doing considerable improv, which plays into Lester’s background as a stand-up – someone who can think on his feet and be funny off the cuff.

“You’d be shocked how bad of a joke writer you could be and get away with it solely with performance,” Lester says. “And acting is literally just performance. And I’m not a phenomenal actor but I can perform well enough to convince people that I’m OK. And that all comes from stand-up comedy.”

Yassir Lester

Yassir Lester

Name: Yassir Lester

Birth date: June 22, 1984

Birthplace: Miami

Family ties: Raised in Marietta, Ga., by a single mother

TV credits include: “My Super-Overactive Imagination,” “After the Party,” “Key and Peele,” “Literally Can’t Even,” “Girls,” “Making History,” “Champions,” “The Mindy Project,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “United We Fall,” “black-ish,” “I Am Frenchie”

Movie credits: “The Bet” (2016)

Writing credits: “The Late Night Fix With Yassir Lester,” “Mr. Pickes,” “The Carmichael Show,” “Girls,” “Black Monday,” “Loudermilk,” “Earth to Ned,” “Kenan”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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