He Played Ronnie in "Role Models." See Bobb'e J. Thompson Now at 26.

The former child star has already had a busier career than actors twice his age.

A young Bobb'e J. Thompson surprised viewers of the 2008 comedy Role Models with his performance as the wisecracking, foul-mouthed Ronnie Shields, a youth Seann William Scott's character is assigned to mentor after being sentenced to community service. The memorable role earned Thompson a nomination for the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance in 2009 and launched the young actor's already successful comedy career to new heights. Keep reading to see the actor and comedian now, at age 26, and find out where his career has taken him in the years since.

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He had his own show.

In his review of Role Models, the late Roger Ebert predicted, "Bobb'e J. Thompson will have his own show on Comedy Central before he's 25." Just a year later, part of that prophecy would come to fruition when the young actor began starring in the clip-style reality show Bobb'e Says on Cartoon Network. While the show lasted just six episodes, that same year, Thompson played the Tar Pits Kid in Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell, voiced Cal Devereaux in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, continued recurring as Tracy Jr. on 30 Rock, and appeared in the Eddie Murphy comedy Imagine That.

He teamed up with Tyler Perry and Nick Cannon.

Bobb'e J. Thompson in 2011
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In 2011, Thompson joined Season 7 of the hit series Tyler Perry's House of Payne as Deshawn Spears, a troubled foster child who becomes part of the Payne household. When that series announced its end, the actor joined Perry's next series, the Why Did I Get Married? spinoff For Better or Worse, playing the son of characters Marcus and Angela, M.J. Williams.

For his next big move, Thompson partnered with writer and director Nick Cannon on his directorial debut, School Dance. In the lead role, he played a shy high schooler with his eyes set on joining a popular dance crew to win over the girl of his dreams. In an interview with Blackfilm.com, Thompson noted the role was a departure from the roles of the youth. "I'm always the loud, fouled-mouthed kid and I've never been one of the leads carrying the film, especially being the straight man," he said.

He also praised Cannon as "a great director [who] gives great guidance." The two would work together again when Thompson joined Cannon's VH1 show Wild 'N Out, facing off with numerous contestants in biting rap battles from 2018 to 2020. He also starred in the director's 2021 VH1 original movie, the Christmas-themed Miracles Across 125th Street.

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He's had some legal troubles.

Bobb'e J Thompson in 2015
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

In June 2021, TMZ reported Thompson had been arrested at LAX after a loaded gun was found in his baggage; he was released on a $35,000 bond. The report further stated that according to police, the actor "was booked for felony possession of a stolen firearm." Thompson responded to the report, stating that the gun "was in a checked bag" and that he "was already on the plane when they found it." He further revealed, "The problem is, I'm a felon and was in possession of a firearm. That's why I was arrested."

He is focusing on music.

Longtime fans of Thompson will remember his early breakout as a five-year-old rapping "Bow Wow What's My Name" on Apollo Kids and other shows. Despite launching a successful acting career with roles in My Baby's Daddy, The Tracy Morgan Show, and That's So Raven following shortly after, the performer has revealed that his true passion remains rap. "When I was growing up, I wasn't into acting or comedy," he told Bossip in 2014. "I was into music."

He has pursued his passion in recent years, releasing his debut album at age 17 with 2013's Fade 2 Rap. He has continued releasing music under the name King Bobb'e J, including a new single on his YouTube channel and Soundcloud with apparent plans to release more. Speaking to Step Stool Radio this January, Thompson observed, "I just realized I ain't dropped no music in 2021–I dropped videos, but no music…So I'm gonna flood music [in 2022]."

He credits standing out for his career longevity.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Thompson also has two movies in the works: playing LeRoy across from Henry Thomas and Tara Reid in Generation Angst, and a role in the forthcoming sci-fi vengeance film, A Family's Fury. When asked on Step Stool Radio how he has managed to stay in the limelight since age five, Thompson speculated it was because he was never able to be compared to other older stars. "I always felt like I brought something that can't be duplicated," he commented. "I was so unapologetically just me." On the subject of being unique, Thompson also rejected claims that he is 4'6" tall. "There's a lot of inaccuracies on [the Internet]," he laughed. "I'm short, [expletive], but damn!"

Joel Cunningham
Joel Cunningham is a writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn. Read more
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