If laughter is in fact the best medicine, then suffice it to say that city native Dion Fowler is hoping to “treat” hundreds on Friday.
Fowler, a professional comedian, will be creating his first-ever live recording during the “Dion & Friends All-Star Comedy Event” at his church, New Generation Praise and Worship International Ministries in Winston-Salem.
The show, which is hosted by Jason “The Shondo King” Tuttle, will feature comedians Tara “SistaBigBone” Sharpe, John Lawson and Carlos “Big Los” Massey.
“All of them, they are crazy,” he said of the friends who will share the stage with him tomorrow, “and who better else to bring in to help you do your first live recording?”
Tickets for the May 2 event are $10 in advance or $15 the day of. Fowler says audiences can expect “a straight up, laugh-til-you-can’t-laugh-no-more, crazy show.”
Doors open at 6 p.m., and “be ready to bust a gut at 7,” Fowler says.
Fowler, a graduate of Glenn High School, has always had an affinity for the lighter side of life.
“My mama says it’s since I was little,” he said of his comedic talent. “I was always an entertainer, always kept a smile on your face.”
Fowler, a father of five, says he inherited his quick wit from his dad, James “Bear” Smith, and his late uncle, Vernon Sims.
“Everyone says it’s always been my thing,” he said of comedy. “I’ll pop off with a good one at the spur of the moment without even thinking if I see something that needs to be paid attention to or something that catches my eye.”
Being onstage is like therapy for him, said Fowler, who has appeared on “The Joy of the World Comedy Tour” in Winston-Salem and J. Anthony Brown’s “J Spot Comedy Tour.”
“I’ll tell anybody, no matter what may be going on in my life, whatever I’m dealing with, you give me a mic and a stage and I’ve done forgot all about what I’m dealing with,” he declared.
Seven years ago, a family member encouraged Fowler to enroll in the Comedy Zone School of Comedy in Charlotte. Fowler had performed at various functions at Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church, where he attended at the time, but says it wasn’t until that moment that he began to see his talent as something more than simple comic relief.
“I talked to Bishop (Sheldon) McCarter, and he told me that that was my calling, that was something I needed to do. With that being said, I enrolled in class and the rest is history,” he said. “…It was something that has been in the back of my mind, but you know, whatever walk we have in life, we all seek confirmation, and that was my confirmation.”
He threw himself whole heartedly into comedy, parlaying his innate ability and commitment to clean comedy into a professional career with performances that have run the gamut from comedy shows to birthday parties, and everything in between. More than a profession, Fowler sees his talent as a God-given prescription to bring joy and lightness into the lives of the people in his audience.
“At the end of the show, the ultimate goal is to erase all of that (sadness), to let them know that, ‘Hey, I can go on,’” he stated. “Whatever you’ve got going on, just laugh at it, just keep it pushing. There’s always a rainbow at the end of a storm.”
Although he admits he has had his moments of doubt about whether the community would support his upcoming show, Fowler said he has resolved to step out on faith.
“I’ve been given an assignment; God gave me an assignment – he gave me a gift,” he remarked. “So I can’t worry about all that. I’ve just got to do what He called me to do, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Friend and fellow comedian Calvin Boyd is making the trek from Greensboro to take part in the show. The two first met at a comedy show last year, and Boyd said he was impressed by what he saw.
“I just remember Dion getting up there and he literally made me cry,” Boyd said. “…I’m ready to cry again. I’m ready for this one.”
Boyd, who hosts a monthly show in High Point, has already booked Fowler for two upcoming shows. He says Fowler has a rare gift.
“He’s got a unique style – he’s got his own style. He’ll look at you and just say something off the wall. It’s like an unorthodox boxer – you don’t know which hand he’s gonna swing from.” he said. “…It’s hard to make a comedian laugh, because that’s what we do, but he’s one of the best that I’ve seen do it. He’s great.”
Fowler said he is hoping for sold out crowds at the 200 seat venue, but whatever the turnout, Fowler, who is already planning a domestic violence awareness event for the fall, says he knows he is on the right path.
“It has changed for the better,” he said of his life since adopting comedy full time, because I’m doing what God has called me to do, and that’s to make His people laugh.”
New Generation Praise and Worship International Ministries is located at 1850 Gyro Road in Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.newgenerationpwim.org or call 336-793-0076. To book Fowler for a future event, find “Dion W Fowler” on Facebook.