HOUSTON—In an era dominated by shock comedians who often push the envelope with their edgy social commentary, a new breed of entertainer is cleaning up the language and putting the faith in funny.
Among the leaders in this emerging genre is Marcus D. Wiley, the co-host of the nationally syndicated Yolanda Adams Morning Show, which is taped in Houston.
“I grew up in church and I worked for a church for a long time,” said Wiley, who draws his inspiration from the church pews and the minister’s pulpit. “All this gives me fuel and ammunition for the stage.”
Perhaps Wiley’s best known act is Bishop Secular, his self-proclaimed alter ego that has catapulted the 40-year-old to international stardom.
“I just utilize a lot of church themes, a lot of church talk and a lot of church regalia,” he said.
To an outsider, finding humor in church could seem a bit odd.
But Grammy award winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams believes it makes perfect sense.
“The word of God says laughter does good like a medicine,” said Adams. “So why wouldn’t you laugh? Especially if it’s in the Bible.”
Wiley said that while he respects comic legends like Richard Prior and Eddie Murphy, it’s important for him to stay true to himself.
And some other local comics seem inspired by Wiley’s example.
All D. Freeman has spent more than a decade collecting small paychecks in smoke-field lounges and comedy clubs. But now, he says he might consider taking his act in a new direction.
“I’m going to take out every four-letter word that I’ve ever used in my act,” he said.