TV star David Mann coming to Victoria
By by camille m. firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 15, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 14, 2012 at 8:15 p.m.
David Mann was shy as a child. Now, the 45-year-old Fort Worth native performs in front of 50,000 people.
Once he discovered his gift in school, he hasn't looked back.
"I made people laugh, and the bug bit me," he said.
The father of four auditioned for Tyler Perry in 1999. He said he never imagined how his career would blossom into five movies, eight stage plays, and a hit TV show, "Meet the Browns."
Although Mann has been a professional entertainer for more than 20 years, he said family comes first.
Mann gained national popularity as the much older, quirkier Mr. "Leroy" Brown who wears white shoes, suspenders and clashing clothes. The eccentric character ministers to others, and at times, uses incorrect grammar. But to know Brown is to love him.
To get into the role, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People award-winning actor visited nursing homes to study the residents. He put a whacky spin on it to add comedic value.
For the first time ever, Mann will bring his character, Mr. Brown, to the Crossroads on Saturday. Promoter Jacob Sandoval wanted to bring Mann to the area after watching his high-energy performance in San Antonio.
"He puts on quite a show," Sandoval said. He also added that his routine is family-friendly.
Saturday night the Victoria Fine Arts Center will be full of faithful and newfound fans. He will be dressed as Mr. Brown and be accompanied by a band. During his act, he will tell jokes, give life lessons and interact with the audience.
"Whether it's one person or a million people, I lay it all out all on stage," he said.
It's a blessing for Mann to make others laugh. Ministers have thanked him for bringing joy to their congregation, especially in tough economic times.
Even with sold out performances and thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers, the grandfather of seven has not avoided criticism. Some Hollywood directors, including Spike Lee, blasted Perry's productions for encouraging harmful African-American stereotypes.
Mann responded that anyone is entitled to his or her opinion. He said that it's not his job to change it either. In the comedian's opinion, his beloved character is all too real.
"There are Mr. Browns in people's family. Sometimes we want to sweep it under the rug," he said.
Those closest to Mann help him to stay grounded. His wife, Tamela Mann, plays his daughter on the TBS Network. The two have worked side by side for many years.
"Working together is all we know," Mann said.
The doting couple's next adventure will be co-hosting a new program "Hanging With The Manns." The show's premise is to show them together working in the kitchen and going on adventures.
Mann said he is excited to explore the Crossroads. "I'm ready to have a great time," he said. "By the time I leave, I'll be exhausted."