Roughly 100 hundred people showed up for the first ever Gospel Comedy Explosion hosted at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Even with the small crowd Sunday evening, there was no shortage of laughter in the room.
“Can ya’ll text someone and tell them where ya’ll at,” joked “Funnyman” Prescott, referring to the lack of those in attendance. “We could’ve did this show at the McDonald’s [sic].”
Prescott, the host, went on to say “put your phones down, don’t tell nobody you was here” causing the crowd to roar in laughter and oblige his request by putting their phones away.
He’s known for his work on BET’s “ComicView” and Comedy Central’s “Laffapalooza” and as an opening act for comedian, radio personality and television host Steve Harvey. Growing up poor, black churches versus white churches, his parent’s unsuccessful marriage and even President Donald Trump were topics that kept attendees cracking a smile.
“It just looks like he wakes up in the morning and sticks his head in the machine and pulls it out,” said Prescott calling Trump “the cotton candy head president.”
Carolyn Clay treated her sister, Doris Clay, to the comedy show for her birthday. Initially, the two say they were skeptical about it since very few were in attendance. But, essentially gave the production rave reviews.
“I think the audience will be a little larger next time around…,” said Doris Clay. “They (comedians) open for big people, but we never heard of them. But, now we’ve heard them. So, now we can push the word out and everyone here can push the word out to go see them, because they are really good.”
Carolyn Clay laughed until she cried listening to Funnyman Prescott plus Bryant “Moufpiece” Hannah and Tony Tone who were also on the ticket.
“I didn’t expect that, but these guys were really, really great,” said Carolyn Clay. “I don’t know why I brought tissue, but I used all my tissue. I’m moving to Texas and I’m taking those names with me. So, if they’re ever in the neighborhood, I’m going to get a ticket.”
A native of Memphis, Hannah pointed out people’s fear of coming to his hometown.
“People are scared to come to Memphis, but Arkansas has enraged, violent mosquitos…,” he said laughing.
Doris’ favorite comic of the night, Tony Tone, did impressions of other stand-up comedians like Katt Williams and Chris Rock. The crowd even sang along with him as he reminisced about a time he says when hip-hop had a message.
“All of our music was good back in the day,” he said going into a melody of classics by Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five among others.
Despite the Gospel Comedy Explosion’s low turnout, event organizers plan to bring more family-friendly events to the area to help in the city’s revitalization efforts.
“You have your events, you have your rap shows and you have all these different things going, but from a quality standpoint to where you can bring your family out, there’s not a lot of opportunities here for that,” said Chris Robinson of Janeen Elliot Marketing. “So, we put our heads together and tried to talk about some opportunities and reached out to Mr. (Chuck) Hildrith and he was able to bring some very good talent here to help promote this initiative we’re doing.”
Angela White Smith of Janeen Elliot Marketing urges residents to support local events as it allows for more opportunities in the future.
“We’re biting the hand that feeds us as a community, because over and over (they) say they want it but they’re not coming,” she said.
And she has a message for those individuals who opt not to show up.
“If you’re not going to support it, then don’t complain,” Smith said of residents who insist there’s nothing to do in Pine Bluff. “We just brought something. We had 40,000 views on Facebook. People knew it was here.”