Several blocks away from Howard University’s metropolitan campus, jokes and laughter fill the prestigious Howard Theatre.
Lil Duval is the culprit behind the revelry that ensues. He is faced with the task of delivering his R-rated, southern, sometimes raunchy act to a crowd that looks more like alumni of the D.C. based HBCU, than current students. His candid jabs at the opposite sex and his own relationship missteps are hit-or-miss but Duval seems unfazed by the crowd’s approval. After all, the five-foot-funny man (born Roland Powell) has three shows being broadcast on MTV and big screen projects with Nick Cannon and Kevin Hart in the works.
“MTV gave me a chance to do my thing and now all I have to do is produce and show them that they picked the right person,” Duval tells VIBE off stage, surrounded by his close friends and castmates Charlamagne the God and Andrew Shultz.
Next year, the network will air the fourth season of its highly popular show Guy Code and all new episodes of Duval’s own spin-off Ain’t that America. Guy Court, which boasts the bros from Guy Code, debuted this month.
Duval can’t imagine doing anything else.
His no-holds-barred onstage antics may offend a few, including the night’s headliner Eric Benet – who Duval questioned his relevancy and hit songs – but you’re bound to find something to giggle about in his banter.
“I just try to take it to the next level,” he admits. “I’ve always seen myself being an entertainer and making people laugh.”
In regards to his female counterparts finding a home on prime-time television, Duval says there’s always more than one lane – nodding at the efforts of Ellen DeGeneres and Mo’Nique. “I don’t look at it as a male or female thing, if you’re funny, you’re funny and if you’re funny enough – funny will outstand you. Everybody doesn't have to do Saturday Night Live.” -- Christopher Harris