Growing up in the middle of the pack in a family with 17 children, Royale Watkins, learned early he had to be different to get some attention. So like a lot of young people in need of attention, Watkins transferred that need to school in the form of becoming the class clown. It definitely served its purpose. He not only got noticed, it also got him in the occasional trouble you might expect, but it also taught him some important lessons.

“What I saw was I had the ability to make people laugh,” he said. “And that was important in so many ways. I found out that for one making people laugh had the ability to galvanize people. To move them. I also learned that being funny got the attention of females. Girls, and women, love funny guys. And I also learned that comedy had the ability to elevate people’s spirits, to get them past painful moments and things. I learned comedy becomes the medium for the soul.”

Watkins took those life-lessons gained from being a school and family funny guy and ran with it. He ran with it all the way to a career that has taken him to stages all over and has allowed him to make a career on television, in film and in producing that is a true testament to the talent he discovered and nurtured back in those young days. 

Watkins has worked with many of the biggest names in comedy. He partnered with Anthony Anderson to create and produce the successful “Mixtape Comedy Show,” which graced New York City stages for several years, and garnered support from such stars as Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfield and Kevin Hart. He has worked with HBO, BET, TV Land, TV One and has written and produced for “Def Comedy Jam,” “Stand Up For Family,” and “Centric Comedy All-Stars.” Kevin Hart tapped Royale to executive produce his “Halftime House Party,” which aired online during the Super Bowl. So not only has he proven to be successful on stage himself, but he is also an in demand talent behind the camera.

Watkins attributes success in comedy, for himself, or anyone, to finding your own voice. He described the process as “finding your voice, learning to take life experiences, good and bad, and then sharing them in an authentic way, and finding humor in it.”

The journey for Watkins wasn’t a short one. After college at the University of the District of Columbia, Watkins joined the military and actually served during the Desert Storm and Desert Shield campaigns in Kuwait. He came back to the states in 1991 and then began the process of finding his place again. Along the way he got married to his wife and became a father and a grandfather. But through it all he knew comedy was his passion. In fact he says it was a comedy show at D.C.’s Constitution Hall that changed his life in a way. Mark Curry opened for Damon Wayans and according to Watkins, the show Curry put on that night was so amazing that it had him saying to himself, “oh yes, this is what I want to do.”

His big break came with his first appearance on Def Comedy Jam. He says that appearance catapulted him to the next level. And he was off and running.

Watkins is always involved in producing, he formed his own company, Entertainment Solutions Inc and created a show that has him flying from his home in Los Angeles across the country to New York City every third Thursday to host and produce a comedy show at NYC’s Gotham Comedy Club. In addition he has several projects in the works to produce for some other well-known comics. But with all that, Royale says doing stand-up is still his passion. He still loves to make people laugh.

Another, more personal project, Watkins has started, and gets a lot of pleasure from, since it involves his wife, is they produce and do their own video blog on Facebook called “After I Do,” which is an open, honest, conversation about life, family, marriage and other issues they want to engage viewers in. It allows them to use their 25 year journey as a way to help others and have some fun as well. Watkins also hosts the “Coffee Cup Chronicles” on the same channel, which is just him having a conversation with the viewers. He hosts the show five days a week, Monday through Friday, at 9 am PST.

Always a producer and creator, Watkins and his wife plan to expand the online show to a book about marriage and life. They are currently halfway through the book. Watkins ultimately wants to create the book, like his online shows, in a way that allows them control over the product. That is an important distinction in the entertainment business.

Royale Watkins is a man of many talents. And he has come a long way since those days making his family and classmates laugh. But the lessons he learned early, about the power of comedy, still ring true today and have formed the basis for his life. Whether he is producing, writing or on stage himself, Watkins is still elevating the spirits of people everywhere.

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