[SavannahNow.com] Actor and reality show star David Mann brings 'Rebirth of Comedy Tour' to Savannah
A group of comedians has set out to prove that clean, Christian comedy can be funny.
David Mann, Savannah native Akintunde, Mark Gregory and Christian rapper Big Redd are bringing their “Rebirth of Comedy Tour” to Jonesville Baptist Church on Feb. 12.
“What we’re doing is bringing good, clean, wholesome fun of the family kind,” Mann says. “This is one of those comedy tours that can bring the whole family out.
“It’s rare to get a comedy tour that you can bring everyone from grandbabies to grandmamas to,” he says. “I remember in the day when we had comics who were funny to kids and their parents.”
These are comedians who take being funny seriously.
“Rather than being locked in the box of Christian comedy, we’d rather consider ourselves Christians who happen to be comedians,” Mann says. “We love God, but we have to be funny otherwise.”
Mann discovered his talent for comedy while hosting events.
“Fifteen minutes would turn into 20, which turned into an hour,” he says. “I’d share my stories, my life, my struggles through comedy.
“It started to grow and grow. I’d talk about love, family, church — I’d talk about life.”
The everyday, ordinary struggles and triumphs can provide the funniest stories, Mann says.
“I talk about my struggle with gaining weight and losing weight,” he says. “I talk about the struggles that come along with marriage.”
The winner of an NAACP Image Award, Mann is a gospel singer, stage actor and has his own hit BET reality show, “It’s a Mann’s World,” in addition to working as a comedian. He has starred in many Tyler Perry plays, including “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Madea’s Class Reunion,” “Meet the Browns” and “What’s Done in the Dark.”
His character, Deacon Leroy Brown, is the father of Madea’s daughter Cora, who is played by his real-life wife, Tamela Mann. Mann also played Mr. Brown in the movies “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” and “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail.”
The Manns were members of Kirk Franklin’s vocal ensemble The Family before working with Tyler Perry.
“My wife and I work together and on different projects,” he says. “She just released a new single, ‘One Day.’”
The two enjoy working together.
“The thing is, we don’t know anything different,” Mann says. “We’ve been in the entertainment industry for 20 years.
“It would be weird and different for us if we were not working together,” he says. “If I’m on a project that she’s not on, I miss her.”
Working for Perry is a wonderful opportunity, Mann says.
“He’s just like any other boss,” Mann says. “You have to come and do the job.”
The Manns were linked to Perry through their gospel singing with Kirk Franklin and The Family.
“We had the same promoters Tyler Perry did,” Mann says. “I never thought it would lead to this.”
The character Mr. Brown is based on some of Mann’s family members.
“Everybody has that funny family member,” Mann says. “I pull from some of them and add some physical antics. I really have more fun playing the character than the audience does watching him.”
Mann has tackled many projects and loves them all.
“I simply like to see people have a good time,” he says. “To be able to have different ways of doing that for me is mind-blowing.”
People often ask Mann is he prefers film or stage.
“I like the instant gratification I get from the stage,” he says. “I know instantly whether it’s working or not.
“With film, you have to wait,” Brown says. “On stage, you know instantly if the audience isn’t laughing, it’s not funny.”
Some audience members might end up being part of the act.
“There’s some interesting characters in the audience,” Brown says. “I look out for them and bring them on stage.
“I also sing and talk about my family. I bring the old-school element.
“Sometimes, they have to tell me to get off the stage because I’m having too much fun,” he says. “Everyone who comes out should expect the unexpected.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Rebirth of Comedy Tour” with David Mann and Akintunde with special guests Mark Gregory and Big Redd
When: 8-11 p.m. Feb. 12
Where: Jonesville Baptist Church, 5201 Montgomery St.