With more than 1.7 million followers on Instagram and Twitter combined, Jax native Lil Duval (born Roland Powell) is attracting lots of attention. The First Coast High grad got his comedic start in 2005 as a semifinalist on BET’s comedy competition series Coming to the Stage. Since then, he’s appeared on tour with Cedric the Entertainer and BET’s Comic View. He also became a series regular on the MTV2 show Guy Code and the host of Ain’t That America. “I always wanted to be an entertainer,” he says. “It was always in me.” Jax Mag spoke with the comedian while on tour in California.
• Fifteen years ago Powell moved to Atlanta to further his career. “I knew that I had to leave Jacksonville if I wanted to try something different.” In August, he returned to Jax to perform at the Florida Theatre for the first time. “It felt good to feel the love and support from my hometown.”
• One can only imagine a typical week in the life of a comedian. “When I’m not auditioning for a show, I’m filming or performing.” But between gigs, he still manages to take his seven-year-old daughter to school and back, and have time for himself. “I have to squeeze in some me-time,” he says. “I like to do outdoorsy and adventurous things like hiking, scuba diving and riding my Ducati.”
• One might think that Powell spends a lot of time on social media with nearly 5,000 Instagram posts and close to 100,000 tweets, but he claims it’s only in his spare time. “My tweets [and social media posts] are all done in transit.”
• While engaging with fans on social media, more often than not he has to defend his hometown NFL team. On the Jags’ season so far: “We got to turn it around. I hope this is just a warm up.”
• Despite the entertainer’s lifestyle, Powell still finds time to come home every once and a while. “I have to go to Jenkins [Quality Barbecue] to get the ribs with the bread,” he says. “You have to get the bread.”
• Last year during the holidays he tweeted out to fans that he would be at Toys “R” Us at St. Johns Town Center buying toys for children. “I bought toys until I ran out of money,” he laughs. “I spent about $30,000.” He says he plans to do the same this year. ]