Faces of Black Twitter: Meet Dillon Stevenson
Dillon Stevenson photographed by Shayan Asgharnia for Okayplayer
Name: Dillon Stevenson
Twitter Handle: @TheDiLLon1
Living and creating in New York City can be a source of inspiration for a young artist-in-training. It can instill in you the hustler’s ambition to surpass the competition, or turn you into a club-hopping, event-junkie. For @TheDiLLon1, he chooses to #StayWoke and keep the jokes on deck whether he’s on-or-offline. Chances are if you haven’t heard of Dillon Stevenson, you’ve most certainly seen his punchlines retweeted up and down your timeline. The comedic writer from the Big Apple has honed his craft from the Gotham Comedy Club to the Broadway Comedy Club, and tackles the current state of the universe in his work using socially relevant quips + tweets.
A student of the Upright Citizen Brigade, @TheDiLLon1 would perform at improvs and sketch shows throughout the city. During his travels, he linked up with other similar malcontents who were “brutal, merciless and hilarious” with their own comedic chops. By honing their conquer and destroy methods, Dillon and his ilk quickly became known around New York City as The DeceptiComics. When John Minus, Cerrome Russell, Gordon Baker-Bone and Mike Brown grouped their comedic superpowers together with Dillon Stevenson, they instantly appealed to diverse audiences by incorporating urban, alternative and mainstream humor which received United Nations-approved laughs. In addition to his chronicled stand-up performing habit, the Harlem humorist also pens content as a contributor for Slant News.
A self-professed “shy guy,” being introverted hasn’t stopped Dillon from attacking every stage with energy, a flood of jokes and plenty of geeky pop culture references. Often seen with a microphone or his mobile device in hand, Dillon has proven that he is a sleeker, more technologically sound comedian than those of the past. Consistently appearing on feeds and timelines across #BlackTwitter, Dillon Stevenson has ranked in the top 15 for lists pertaining to the best pages to follow on the social media network. With the tweets and profiles of #BlackTwitter backing Dillon, he admitted that being a part of such a community is fluid and all it’s own thing at the same time. “[Black Twitter] is like a living thing,” he told us in an email interview. “Like black people, [Black Twitter] is not a monolith. There are subsects and divisions and overlap that are all constantly changing.”
“I don’t log on to Twitter and click ‘Ebony.’ For me mostly, [Black Twitter] is a community that speaks the same language and has the same inside jokes,” he shared with us. “If I say, ‘A stack a month,’ [Black Twitter] is going to know what I am saying.” As a force for good and a force for the ratchet, Black Twitter has enabled the everyday Jamal or Tenisha to fuel their own entrepreneurial dreams, start a creative endeavor or slander offenders — all with the full support of the interconnected congregation. “People laugh at my jokes online, [but] I don’t think there is any difference between my online and offline personas,” Dillon hinted to us when we inquired about his character. “I try to keep it pretty low-key in my real life… at least at my day job. Black Twitter, Twitter [as a whole] has been very important to my comedy and creative endeavors, so remaining ‘scarily the same’ has been easier to do than naught.”
A graduate of St. John’s University in Queens, New York, Dillon has always wanted to be involved in television in some form or fashion. Before the funnyman was promoting comedy shows, he was suiting up for Time Warner Cable as a technical operator who handled control room production, master control operations and video editing. Much like anyone else who worked the graveyard shift before setting out on their own, Dillon’s need to be seen as an original superseded his love of the regular 9-to-5 grind, so he put all his energy into promoting and performing the best comedy shows in and around New York City. “I mostly do stuff to entertain myself and make myself laugh,” he mentioned to us. “It blows my mind anytime someone says, ‘Whenever I’m having a bad day or need a laugh I’ll go to your timeline.'”
“I was like, wait what? Don’t say that. No, I’m not. I don’t balk at it too much anymore, ’cause I guess I am a part of Black Twitter.”
Turning to writing, producing and performing his own creations, Dillon Stevenson would helm his own skits for YouTube, while making appearances at stand-up shows around the area. “The first time I actually remember someone saying I was a part of ‘Black Twitter’ was when this comic said it as my credit while bringing me up on stage,” Dillon shared with us. “‘He’s huge on Black Twitter!'” I don’t balk at [the claim] too much anymore,” with the reason being that he has been indoctrinated amongst other standout performers such as Amanda Seales, Chloe A. Hilliard and Ian Edwards. “I’ve yelled ‘I’ll die for this Twitter shit,’ one too many times [in my life],” Dillon said when discussing his favorite social channels that have helped him to reach the people. “Social media has their niche purposes and uses,” he said. “Instagram and Snapchat are very vain and materialistic; Facebook is for the relatives you don’t speak with and old high school acquaintances and Twitter just seems to be the thing you can truly use however you want.”
As a writer for Slant News, Dillon covers television, comedy, activism and the random goings-on that happens in real-time. Never a troll, but always bridging the gap between the funny and the faux pas — @TheDiLLon1 embraces the freedom to write about whatever interests him. “I just try to be on the right side of societal issues and keep my mouth shut about things I’m not smart enough to speak on,” he admitted to us. With 13.4K Twitter followers checking for his humor and thoughts on controversial topics, Dillon Stevenson is not taking his amazing opportunity lightly. “They [Slant News] gave me the freedom to write about whatever interests me, but also they give the guidance to do it well and effectively,” he said. “I don’t shy from controversial topics. If something affects me or moves me, I’ll comment on it and address it. Of course, some things don’t need to be joked about, but I may try to provide humor or levity if they [Black Twitter] look to me for anything.”
A member of the the 24-hour news cycle, our first impressions upon meeting Dillon Stevenson at OKP HQ were rooted in Star Wars references, self-deprecating humor and effortless black cool. “Twitter just seems to be the thing where you can truly use it for whatever you want,” Stevenson said, while speaking on the awesomeness of the social network site. “Activism. Networking. Trolling. Mr. Krabs memes. Telling a story about how you put poop in your purse on a date. It’s magical.” He’s right. For a generation, Twitter has been the wave that opens doorways into other platforms or has been the right pocket for the things you like. “I don’t have an overall activist mission [on Twitter]. I represent who I am and what I believe. If there are times to speak to those interests and beliefs I will,” he said with conviction. Representing for ‘Insufficient Funds’ Twitter, Dillon is more likely to be found advocating for the broke guys online. “I hope to show the world that ‘broke boi’s’ are people too. Primarily, I’m there for the laughs and there are so many to be had.”
#BlackTwitter has changed how the world interacts and engages with one another. If there is a celebration, an atrocity, an educational achievement, hell, anything of merit — we are there loud, proud and in charge. There is always something going on and someone to brighten a light (a voice) to it. “People had some inkling about [Bill] Cosby for decades and it took someone making people aware of a Hannibal Buress bit to really put a spotlight on it,” Dillon said. “You never know where a change will come from.” Funny people like Dillon and others are beacons for trolls and spammers who want to make a name off the back of people who use humor as a tool. “I ignore trolls,” Dillon told us when asked about his interactions with the dark side of the internet. “Or I’ll have my own fun with [trolls] depending on the situation.” One story finds someone lurking in his mentions, accusing Dillon of “promoting the sinful act of homosexuality” because of a joke he made about men street-harassing other men. “I started hitting on him,” he joked. “He didn’t want to make out with me, but to be fair that is usually how women respond as well.”
While he has yet to figure out how to respond IRL with memes and gifs, Dillon is less awkward than his online persona. His #StayWoke merchandise moves impressively with limited promotion, while his #ObamaAndBiden holiday playlist on Spotify received tons of retweets and charted as a personal best for the comedic dynamo. “Most likely my legacy will be that guy was hilarious… what ever happened to him?” he tells us with a sly wink of an eye. “Then someone will put a crying Jordan face on me.” #BlackTwitter’s own Dillon Stevenson is just as versatile and packed with staying power like the popular meme featuring His Airness. With his stock continuing to rise, more opportunities and connections he’s made have all been thanks to Twitter and his ability to make a crowd bust a rib (and spend some coins). Little known fact: Before @TheDiLLon1 was killing them on Twitter, he was in OKP’s message boards doing the same. “I lurked hard [on Okayplayer],” he told us in that same email interview. “WaffleFries4Free was my handle. I took it from the ‘Unforgivable’ YouTube videos. I really felt like an outsider showing up late to the party, so I was kind of intimidated to be honest. I just loved that my favorite musicians were on there: Questlove, Prince and Phonte. It was cool to have access to them before it became such a commonplace thing on Twitter.”
Hopefully, Dillon Stevenson’s online audience continues to grow and be supportive of his comedy endeavors.
>>>Follow Mr. Dillon Stevenson on Twitter @TheDiLLon1.