If you follow Atlanta-based comedian Lil Duval on Twitter (@lilduval) you know the outspoken comic is not one to hold back on his opinions. With his fellow funnyman Tracy Morgan in the midst of cleaning up a public relations mess sparked by his offensive, homophobic routine at a Tennessee club this past weekend, Duval shares his very frank views on the controversy with BET.com.
Though Tracy Morgan has since apologized for his rant, in which the 30 Rock star said he would stab his son if he were gay, Duval says he personally would not have offered a mea culpa.
“I wouldn’t have apologized,” Duval says.” But y'all [the media] made it such a big deal where he might mess up his money. I don’t even know if people are sensitive anymore. I feel like they use things like that to promote what they got going on. There’s always some type of angle. Even with the whole gay thing, that gives them ammo to say yeah, ‘See, that’s what we talking about.’ That’s what people do. Whenever I say something that gives them ammunition—'See, I told you he’s an asshole.’ I’m a asshole by mistake; I don’t try to be an asshole.”
For Duval, who was a contestant on BET’s comedy competition series Coming to the Stage in 2005, the offensive nature of Morgan’s act was the price of comedy. It was basically a comedian working out the kinks in his show.
“As a stand-up comedian we don’t have the luxury of going to a studio and working out some s--- like a rapper,” he says. “We’re onstage working out something and he was working on it' but it wasn’t funny and y'all took offense to it. That’s what messes the game up with camera phones and all that. He ain’t got time to work it out. By the second show, third show, he would have been able to work it out, but y'all never gave Tracy a chance to work it out.”
In a perfect world, the diminutive comic thinks the public has to cut his fellow comedians some slack as they go through the process of perfecting a routine.
“I’m not a shock value comic, I don’t try to be,” he says. “But sometimes it does come off as shock, because it’s something you’re surprised you would ever hear. Anything you put out there somebody’s going to disagree with it. That’s just life. Especially nowadays, everybody is against something. You can’t make everybody damn happy. That’s what makes you a comedian and if you censor all that, that’s what kills the comedy.”
Being provocative and occasionally offensive are hazards of the job according to Lil Duval.
“Take my stalker song, 'You Is My Girlfriend.' Everybody loved it, but there are some people who hated it because they thought I was promoting violence on women. A lot of the stuff I say on Twitter people just think I’m trying to be funny, think I’m just trying to get attention, but there is a method behind the madness. Now every blue moon something may come out that’s harsh, but it’s not from a place where I’m trying to hurt somebody's feelings.”
As for the recent troubles of another outspoken comedian, Katt Williams, who experienced yet another bizarre run-in with the law, Duval points to the long history of comics (Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle) who have had very public mental flaps.
“Comics are the epitome of what real life is,” he says. “At least a real comic, we see life for what it is and a lot of the time we so busy making other people laugh, y'all don’t realize we absorbing life more than y'all are—and that’s why most of them go crazy and snap.”
No need to worry about Lil Duval tripping out any time soon. The “fake ass chain” wearing funnyman uses Twitter as an outlet to let out any frustrations and thoughts. He’s also noticing that the social media tool is birthing a ton of would-be jokesters.
“With Twitter, everyone thinks they can be a comic, everybody thinks they funny now.”