Roland "Lil Duval" Powell has become a comedy fixture on MTV2 with his appearances on Guy Court and Guy Code, so it was no surprise when the network handed him his own show. Having just wrapped the second season of Ain't That America With Lil Duval and with season four of Guy Code on the horizon, Duval phoned into BFTV to talk about being the face of a TV program and the strong relationship he enjoys with the network.
"It's surreal," he reflected. "I'd never thought I'd have my own show, let alone with my name in [the title]. It's almost like I'm pinching myself."
Ain't That America sees Duval performing sketches and checking out viral videos with the help of an eclectic roster including other familiar faces from the MTV roster (Charlamagne Tha God and Guy Code's Jon Gabrus) to guest celebrities (J.R. Smith from the NBA's New York Knicks). After a successful first season, the show was tweaked for season two.
"The major changes [were] the whole set and where we shot it," Duval said. "We shot it in Los Angeles the first season; the second season we shot it in New York with a whole new set. And also, we did a lot more sketches this season."
If you haven't checked out the show yet, "I'd recommend a sketch called 'The Legend of the Original BlackBerry.' Saying that the first BlackBerry was a black person. That's one of the sketches," he continued. "Also [there's] another sketch where I've got a dance called the Creep Dog. That's what separates us from the other clip shows."
You can watch the BlackBerry sketch with this article.
Now on his third series with MTV2, Duval explained how his good relationship with the network assists the making of his show. "As far as what I do, it definitely [helps]," he told us. "It's better to have a good relationship with your bosses in general. If they don't understand you and trust your judgment, they're going to go with what they want to go with."
Another plus is being surrounded by a strong cast of guest personalities. "Judah Friedlander, I wasn't familiar with him until the show, and I thought he was funny. JR Smith was funny. They've all been good," Duval said, adding that "I try to set [the show] up to where everybody feels welcome. That's the same thing we try to push out there when you watch it."
Does the humor come naturally on Ain't That America? Or is it something that has to be worked on? "I actually think everything I say is funny," quipped Duval. "I laugh at the jokes myself. If I say something, it's something I think is funny. Most of my stand-up comes from life and what I see, so if I see something funny, then that's what I try to put in there. By the time you hear it, I've laughed at it six, seven times."
Having his own national TV show has also helped out Duval's ongoing stand-up comedy career; he continues to tour all around the country. "It impacts [well], because it actually opens up an audience that normally probably wouldn't give me a chance for the most part," he told us. "On stage, I'm kind of straightforward and honest and I guess kind of raunchy. This kind of opens me up to people, so now they accept me."
For more on Ain't That America With Lil Duval, including full episodes, you can visit the official show site at MTV.com. Season 4 of Guy Code premieres on April 16 on MTV2. You can also follow Duval on Twitter (@lilduval).