From singing to acting to stand-up comedy, David Mann is an entertainment jack-of-all-trades.
Gospel music fans will recognize him from his stint with Kirk Franklin and the Family, with whom he performed along with his wife of more than 25 years, singer-actress Tamela Mann.
Tyler Perry fans know Mann as the decidedly colorful Mr. Brown, father of Madea’s (Perry) daughter, Cora (played by his wife). Known for his trademark garish, mismatched outfits, Mr. Brown first brought theatergoers to tears of laughter in several stage plays before recreating the character in the film adaptations including “Meet the Browns” and “Madea Goes to Jail.”
What some don’t realize his that Mann is also a seasoned stand-up comedian. He’s currently regaling audiences with tales of family, church and personal struggles on the Rebirth of Comedy Tour with fellow stand-up Akintunde. The pair will come to Dayton at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21 for a show at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St.
The 49-year-old performer recently took a breather for a quick phone conversation from his home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — “I refuse to move anywhere else; there’s no place like home!” — where he seeks refuge from the bright lights of Hollywood with his large, close-knit family.
Q. What can people expect from your upcoming appearance in Dayton?
A. It’s stand-up. What they can expect is the unexpected! I always draw from what’s in the audience; there’s always some interesting people in the audience — and that’s putting nicely.
For instance, at one show, there was a young lady who had an interesting-looking wig. She came up on stage and gave it to me. You can’t plan that kind of stuff.
I get the audience involved. We dance, we talk, we laugh, we have a good time. It’s like I’m in my living room talking. I talk about my struggles — with weight, family and church — and end up doing a little singing.
Q. When you got into the business was it primarily as a singer?
A. Yes, I started in the business singing. I sang gospel and I was one of Kirk Franklin’s background singers. It just kind of just kind of evolved into stand-up. I began hosting a few shows and my set grew from 15 minutes to an hour, so I said, “Let’s hit the road!”
Q. Tell me a little about your journey from acting onstage to movies and TV?
A. I continued singing with Kirk Franklin and once that was over, I got linked up with an up-and-coming writer named Tyler Perry. I started doing stage plays — my first national stage play was in 1995 — which led to doing movies, developed into a television series and more movies. One hundred and forty episodes later, my wife and I are opening our own music label and developing our own shows, “It’s a Mann’s World” and “Mann and Wife” … as you can see, they all have “Mann” in the title! (Laughs)
Q. How did you come up with the character of Mr. Brown?
A. I probably shouldn’t say this in print, but he came from looking at family members. Everyone has that funny uncle that talks crazy, another uncle that dresses crazy. I just started developing characters; I never imagined it could turn into a television show.
Q. Who do you admire or would most like to work with?
A. Oh, that’s a great question. Denzel, of course. Steve Martin, definitely. And believe it or not, one of my favorite singers, Tony Bennett. There’s a lot of people I’d like to work with in the industry.
For ticket details about the Rebirth of Comedy featuring David Mann and Akintunde, call the Victoria Theatre at
For more information about Mann, visit his website at http://www.tillymannmusic.com/david-mann-bio.html.
Connect with him via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/davidtamelamann, Twitter at http://twitter.com/DAVIDANDTAMELA and Instagram at http://instagram.com/p/Nv4xPAglC_/.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.