On Empire, Jussie Smollett stars as Jamal, scion of the Lyon dynasty. And in real life, Smollett has five siblings — they once all starred in a show together, the one-season TGIF sitcom On Our Own. Although two of his brothers have since moved on from show business, Smollett said they all still have each other’s backs. In fact, when Stephen Colbert asked him on Wednesday who would win in a fight between his real family and the Lyons, Smollett did not hesitate.
“We would beat the Lyons’ ass,” he said. “Terrence [Howard] and Taraji [P. Henson] right now are probably like, ‘Oh word?’ but I’ll tell you why. The Lyons are constantly at each others’ throats. We have a unified situation. And yes, Lucius would possibly pull out a gun and shoot you in the eye, but that’s not the point. My older brother has arms the size of my thighs, so we would be all right. And I sure could beat Jamal’s ass down.”
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest late-night coverage by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
Smollett also retold the story of how he and his family came to star on On Our Own in the first place. Smollett’s sister, Jurnee, had garnered some early fame for her role on Full House, but their mother soon got tired of shuttling various siblings to different gigs. She laid down the law: either they’d all do something together, or nothing.
“The next thing we know, we’re in a meeting with ABC. I mean, all these old-ass white men. So we went in, and I don’t know why, but we went in and sang ‘Shut ‘Em Down’ by Public Enemy,” Smollett said. “But yo, they loved it. Apparently they wanted to shut it down, too. But then I guess they didn’t like it anymore because they canceled us. They shut us down.”
Watch the full clip below.