You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of Yassir Lester in the next few months (and beyond).
The writer/comedian/performer makes his animated debut Feb. 16 on Fox’s comedy “Duncanville” — opposite Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell and Rashida Jones — and returns in mid-March as Yassir X on Don Cheadle’s Showtime comedy “Black Monday.” (He also writes for the series, about a funky Wall Street trading firm in the days leading up to the October 1987 stock market crash.)
“I’m not going to say I’m not tired, but at the same time, you work to get to a certain level and once you’re there you don’t let your foot off the gas until you retire,” says Lester, 35, whose bursting resume includes writing for “Girls” and “Mrs. Fletcher” (HBO), “The Carmichael Show” (NBC) and “Detroiters” (Comedy Central). He’s also co-starred with Adam Pally and Leighton Meester on Fox’s “Making History” and has a busy stand-up career.
“It’s a bit of a high-wire act,” he says. “I take two jobs at once; I was doing ‘Duncanville’ and ‘Black Monday’ at the same time and had to leave early or show up late to ‘Black Monday’ while I was doing my voice for ‘Duncanville.’ And after that I hopped onto something else.
“When I was writing for ‘Girls’ I was also writing for ‘The Carmichael Show,’ so it was mornings for ‘Girls’ and afternoons for ‘Carmichael,’” he says. “If I wake up one day when I’m 50 and I’m weirdly paralyzed, I’ll know why.”
“Duncanville,” co-created by Poehler, centers around a teen named Duncan (voiced by Poehler) who lives a fairly normal suburban life with his mother (Poehler again), ponytailed father (Burrell) and two sisters (Riki Lindhome, Joy Osmanski). He has a vivid imagination, aided and abetted by his pals: get-rich-quick schemer Yangzi (Lester), slacker Wolf (Zach Cherry) and class clown Bex (Betsy Sodaro). Rashida Jones (“Angie Tribeca”) plays Duncan’s crush, Mia.
“Yangzi is the hustler of the group, for better or worse, the one always looking for an opportunity to make money,” says Lester. “He can get his friends into concerts because he’s doing like 12 Instagram sponsorships for some weird energy drink or something, and he wears gold chains. He’s designed to look like me — he even wears my glasses and my outfits.”
Lester says that working with “Duncanville” co-creator Mike Scully helped him land the role.
“The moment this show was even an idea, he asked me to audition,” he says. “He sent me an email and was like, ‘What was that weird character with the weird voice you used to do in the ‘Carmichael’ writers’ room? Can you do that voice?’ So I did that a few times into a recorder, and that’s it. I got the role. I’m just acting like that guy behind you in the grocery store.
“This was the first time I met Amy [Poehler],” he says. “You know that anticipation when you meet people you admire, that they’re not going to be a cool as you think they are? Amy absolutely lived up to all my expectations and Rashida [Jones] is so funny.
“I’m giving a shout-out to everyone,” he says “This is the most incredible cast.”
Lester says Season 2 of “Black Monday,” premiering March 15, will find all the main characters, including Yassir X, continuing their journeys in very different directions.
“We can explore a little more,” he says. “Yassir and Wayne [Horatio Sanz] are kind of the dirty dynamic duo of the show and they get into an entirely different subplot in Season 2. You’ll see how they effect one another and the plotline of the show. You’ll also see Mo’s [Cheadle] return and the way that Blair [Andrew Rannells] goes from being a sweet boy to who he becomes in Season 2.
“The show is such a weird balance of comedy, drama and action — even more so this season.”