Lil Duval: “Chris Tucker Gave Me the Bug for Standup”

The Ain't That America star talks his new show and more.

Posted: 07/08/2013 12:30 PM EDT

Comedian Lil Duval (née Roland Powell) has appeared in Scary Movie and BET’s Comic View, but small screen audiences will soon be welcoming him into their homes on a regular basis. As host of the new MTV2 viral video series Ain’t That America With Lil Duval, which premieres July 9 (check your local listings), the comedian will provide commentary on the funniest and wackiest videos on the Internet. He spoke to BET.com about why Ain’t That America is like nothing you’ve seen on TV and explains how pure humor, not pain, informs his comedy.

Tell us about your video show, Ain’t That America With Lil Duval.
For the most part it’s viral video, skits and late night TV all mixed up in one. You'll see a clip, we’ll talk about it with audiences or guests and if it’s funny enough, I’ll make a skit about it. So it’s like a mesh between Ridiculousness and Chappelle's Show.

There are so many Internet clip shows on TV, how is yours going to be different?
We will feature more fun, crazy stuff that will make you ask yourself, “Did he just do that?” It’s stuff that you may have not put on the Internet yourself but may have happened in your life. It’s more America’s Funniest Home Videos than Ridiculousness or Tosh.O. America’s Funniest Home Videos was the fun stuff. Most of the stuff they do now is more wild and harsh. We’re not going to be focusing on running your nuts into the wall, someone breaking your legs or some s--t like that. My stomach can’t digest all that Jackass stuff, people getting beat up and shot in the head. I guess I’m soft and weak when it comes to that stuff. I can’t stomach it. 

Was there one comedian in particular who inspired your work?
I never studied comedians but Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, Chris Tucker and Richard Pryor — these are people I respect, followed their careers and have learned from their careers. But when I saw Chris Tucker on Def Comedy Jam, he was one of the first people out there that was speaking s--t that I would say. Chris gave me the bug for doing stand-up — that’s what made me want to do it.

Does your comedy come from pain or just from being funny?
I’ve always been funny. This is just something I naturally did because I like to entertain people. As far as going through pain and struggle, I think all of life is pain and struggle — that’s life. I didn’t use that as my rhyme or reason for doing this. Some people look at tough times as something harsh … but I just look at it as life. I think some people are weaker and just can’t take it.

One timeless subject that all comedians love talking about is the differences between men and women. What has being the father to a daughter taught you about girls and women?
Before I had a daughter, I thought women were just crazy. But once I had a girl, I realized that this is just how they are, this is how they talk, all this emotion and all these feelings. One minute she’s happy and laughing, the next minute she’s crying out of nowhere. And I’m like where the f--k is this coming from? [Laughs] I realize there’s no logic behind it. We are programmed differently. God didn’t make men like that. It is what it is.

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(Photos from left: Michael Buckner/Getty Images, Bryan Steffy/Getty Images)

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