You may have seen him on season five of “Last Comic Standing,” or “Chelsea Lately,” and soon you’ll seen him once again on Comedy Central. Comic Lavell Crawford was good enough to give a few words.
My cell-phone rings at 6:30. The voice on the other end says, “Hello, this is Lavell Crawford” And after just watching his new special – airing on Comedy Central on Friday, August 12th at 11pm, there’s something inside that makes me really want to be friends with this guy.
After we exchange pleasantries, I confirm his being born and raised in St. Louis. To which he replies, “Born and bred! Home of the best baseball team in the world!” My enthusiastic demeanor drops. I explain that I am from Chicago and immediately he understands that this geographical distance means that we are sworn enemies.
He laughs, “Yeah… sorry about that…”
I sigh shamefully.“… it’ll happen someday,” I mutter. And with that bitter defeat, we begin:
CraveOnline: So tell me — is “Can a Brother Get Some Love” a culmination of things you’ve been working on, or is it something you’ve devoted yourself specifically to?
Lavell Crawford: I did “Last Comic Standing” and that was a great opportunity. But, when we were on “Last Comic Standing” I didn’t get to preform in my hometown, which is on the outskirts of St. Charles, Missouri, which is about twelve miles from St. Louis. And after LCS [in which he was the 1st runner-up], I couldn’t get booked in any of the old clubs in St. Louis. And it kinda bothered me. I was like, ‘man, hometown boy does good! Let’s celebrate him, you know?’ So I decided I wanted to shoot my special at home.
But not too worry. Lavell was able to sell out the theater in three days. He also says that where the name of the special came from. An homage to Rodney Dangerfield.
Check out the trailer for “Can a Brother Get Some Love?” below.
Before I can even ask him about his influences, Lavell explains that he had a nightclub in St. Louis where he hosted every Tuesday night featuring the Kings of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer, and Sinbad. All very big influences on him.
But, Lavell isn’t exactly a tenderfoot when it comes to comedy either — he’s been doing this for twenty-three years.
CraveOnline: Is there a specific moment when you went, ‘Yes. This is what I want to do.’ Or did you get into it little by little?
Lavell Crawford: Well… it was strange, you know, when I was thinking about doing comedy, comedy was about to, I really guess you could say, ‘boom.’ Comedy Central had just come on the scene. MTV had a comedy show. Def Jam was out there, and BET. My cousin was dating a comedian, and she was bragging about how funny he was, and I watched him. And at the time there was a girl that I used to like, and she went to my church and I used to do impressions of a bunch of members at the church, and I had her dying laughing. I used to make a lot of people laugh, you know, on the side, and I was like, ‘dang, I think I may be able to do this.’ I didn’t think a black comedian could be out there. Richard Pryor, of course. But I used to see Shecky Greens and Kenny Youngmans and Buddy Hackett and them. And it wasn’t until I got to college and saw Sinbad. We brought Sinbad to my college and he was the first comedian that I saw that was young, and he was good, and he was a real nice guy, and I was like, ‘wow, I want to do that.’
Lavell then shares something with me amidst his anecdote of becoming a stand-up that I thought was truly inspirational:
On his first time trying stand-up he said, “If I can get one laugh doing this, then I’m going to turn it into a career.” He continued, “And the best thing about it, I just talked about everyday things and it killed!”
CraveOnline: Being from the Midwest and performing all around the country, do you find that you need to change up your act in order to cater to different audiences?
Lavell Crawford: No, I think my stuff is universal. Now we got Facebook and Twitter, there’s something for everyone. To the highly educated to the blue-collar, black, white, and latino crowds.
And as a fan, I agree. In addition, Lavell goes on to thank Chelsea Handler and George Lopez for the opportunities to perform on their programs providing Lavell with exposure.
CraveOnline: I saw that you have a Twitter account, (which you can follow @Lavellthacomic) do you enjoy doing that social networking stuff? I hear a lot of people say it’s a hassle. Do you enjoy the interacting?
Lavell Crawford: I don’t mind. You know, you got those internet bullies, and assholes who think they talk tough through the internet. I got this one guy — I just did Lopez the other night – and he said, ‘yeah Lavell Crawford stole Jim Gaffigan’s joke,’ and I went, ‘I’ve been around for twenty-three years. I’m a fat guy. I’ve written a lot of those [type] jokes. I’d probably know about it before anybody, you know. I don’t have to [steal]. I got originals.’ But you get assholes like that every once in a while.
CraveOnline: I actually read that tweet earlier and I thought, “what an idiot that guy is.”
Lavell Crawford: Right. I try not to sweat the small stuff and move on. But if there’s someone that tries to reach out, I try to respond personally.
CraveOnline: I actually found your stage presence very sweet and endearing. Do you work hard on your stage persona?
Lavell Crawford: I find it better to make people feel comfortable. I got some dark jokes that I do, but in the midst of the dark jokes, I’m such a nice guy, you kinda laugh at it. I’m a big guy, I have to come in and make people feel comfortable – they might be scared to death of me.
Again, you can check out Lavell’s special “Can a Brother Get Some Love?” Friday, August 12th at 11pm on Comedy Central!