When you look up the term “AWOL,” it means “absent without leave.” However, comedian Anwar “AWALL” Tillery is anything but absent. Bolstering a substantial following on his Instagram (@the_ real_mr_hehe) and YouTube pages, it was only right that I spoke to the man behind the comedy. While I expected to laugh, which definitely happened a lot over the course of the interview, I was amazed to discover a man that is every bit as humble as he is talented and funny.
The Bronx born, Anwar Tillery grew up in the Soundview projects. Having witnessed a lot of drugs and violence, he found solace and an escape in making people laugh: “Comedy was always my escape from everything… It felt good. That was one thing that was like just natural for me.” He was a natural for sure, being voted the Class Clown in junior high. Taking cues from influences like Martin Lawrence, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, The Wayans, Bernie Mac and Jim Carrey, AWALL has since transformed his Class Clown reputation into a reputable career, developing characters, as well as his own style. He says, “My style is everything. My style is Wu-Tang style. Wu-Tang got like 36 chambers. I got like 36 styles in my one style. It’s just me.”
Locked and loaded with characters like Mr. Hehe, a free spirit with a high pitched, dolphin-like laugh, and his rapper persona Lil’ Stains, AWALL has a series of episodes called “The Next Great Rapper” on his YouTube channel by the same name. Most of his material, like the inspiration for his characters come from his life and family: “Sometimes I forget to call myself a comedian because I just think I’m living life. They got a saying that says ‘there’s a time to be serious… You don’t have to be serious until that time… I’m a fan of comedy so if I can’t laugh at myself, I ain’t going to put it out there.”
Like any good punch line, AWALL delivers quick fire doses of comedy by inviting fans into his world with 15 second Instagram clips. From Lil’ Stains getting robbed for his chain to AWALL going to his son’s class play, the page offers a little bit for everyone, creating a polarity that no doubt is just a part of the comedy game: “I’ll get a laugh out of [people]. Even if it’s a fake laugh… You’re either going to say he’s funny or that n*gga’s annoying.”
Check out all that AWALL has to offer at AWALLdoesit.com!
Words by Kiara Gillette