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Meeting of the (comedic) minds

Meeting of the (comedic) minds
November 09
05:00 2017

By Busta Brown

I organized a roundtable discussion with some of the funniest and most brilliant minds in comedy. They happen to be Christians. They joked about everything from TV, music, marriage, kids, sex, church and politics. I laughed so hard, I began to choke, tears were pouring down my face, and my stomach cramped up; they were hilarious.

When I asked why most black comics avoid joking about The Obamas, comedian and Pastor Debra Terry-Stephens did something I’ve rarely seen her do – she got serious. Terry-Stephens’ infectious laugh and beautiful smile immediately turned into a serious expression. “I think because of the respect for who they are and what they represented; the image. Not for just black Americans, but for all Americans period. This family was in the White House for eight years, not one scandal of any kind. He was one of the most intelligent and articulate presidents we had in, like, forever.”

Comedian Carlos Massey had jokes. “I joked about them because they were too perfect. This family was created somewhere in a lab.” Terry-Stephens and I fell out laughing, and Massey continued with the jokes. “You telling me in eight years, nobody slapped anybody, no side chick?” The jokes kept coming, “Sasha had to be a side chick baby, and you noticed she didn’t show up during the last part of his campaign. So I’m like hash tag where’s Sasha. We still ain’t found her. I think she went back to her original family.”

I also asked both comics what do church folk have to stop doing, and Terry-Stephens began to laugh. “You gotta stop coming late to church, but then you gonna tip out during the offering.” Massey and I laughed as Terry-Stephens  began to impersonate preachers. “You already late. You ain’t been here a hot two minutes and during offering you gotta tip out and go to the bathroom.” Terry-Stephens demonstrated how church folk hold their finger up in the air, which is like sign language to excuse you from service.

Next up was Massey: “I’m gonna look in the camera when I say this. Bad breath prophesying.” I laughed and then asked if he could explain it, and of course he did. “Stop prophesying to people if your breath is bad. If you been preaching for 45 minutes, pause and put a mint in your mouth before you go greet the congregation, because I’m tired of catching people because your breath knocked them out.” He said every church needs a Mint Ministry. “After the pastor finished preaching, the Mint Minister would slide a mint in his hand.”

Neither Debra nor Carlos use profanity in their shows. They take pride in doing what I like to call a “child and church” friendly show. Terry-Stephens explained, “It’s who I am. It’s a lifestyle.” I jokingly asked if Jesus were here today, would he attend a Katt Williams or Kevin Hart show. Terry-Stephens laughed and then responded, “Yes he would, and save some folks while he’s there. I personally wouldn’t be offended if I saw my pastor at a Katt Williams show, but I’m sure others would. It gets carried away, instead of everyone enjoying themselves.”

Massey added, “Saved folks go the violent movies, and watch violent and sexual TV shows. Most church folk saw all of Tyler Perry movies, and Madea would sit up in church and use profanity.”  The interview was extremely fun and hilarious, yet there were times both comics shared their serious concerns about the church and our communities. Check it out on our YouTube channel called Winstonsalem Chronicle.

Debra Terry-Stephens is also the pastor and first lady of Cornerstone of Faith Ministries in Winston-Salem. She is married to Bishop Grosjean L. Stephens. Terry-Stephens is a multi-talented performing artist who works interchangeably as a comedian, actor, singer, writer, producer, motivational speaker and preacher.

Churches, colleges, club owners, promoters, actors, pastors and other comedians describe Terry-Stephens as “clever and classy.” She deals with everyday life and her own life experiences and unresolved issues using references from movies, commercials, song parodies and female singer impersonations for a show to remember.

Terry-Stephens’ acting background includes roles in two back-to-back episodes of the award-winning Showtime series, “Homeland.” She also stars as the voice of Li’l Bit in “The Magistical,” a wonderful animation being shown at the Cannes Film Festival; made-for-TV movies like “Funny Valentines” and “Something Borrowed, Something Blue”; has appeared in numerous commercials – like the national Meineke commercial – and is the host of many corporate training videos. Terry-Stephens appeared in the new standup comedy show called “We Got Next” on the Aspire Network. She was a finalist for Nick-at-Nite’s “Funniest Mom in America Contest.”

She has worked with the best comedians and singers in the industry such as Jennifer Holliday, Pattie LaBelle, Anita Baker, Dom Irrera, Chris Rock, Bernie Mac and Dennis Miller, to name a few. Terry-Stephens graduated from Apex School of Theology (Durham, N.C.) with a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Relations with a minor in Psychology. Her website is www.debraterry.com.

Carlos Massey, aka Comedian “Big Los,” has earned the admiration of his peers by winning over audiences with his unique brand of clean standup comedy. Massey was born in Greenville, S.C. He attended Winston-Salem State University and now lives in Greensboro. Carlos is becoming one of the most requested headliners in the area for Clean Standup Comedy, which makes him suitable for any function. He has shared the stage with great artists such as Ben Tankard, Tony Terry, Joe Torry, Israel and New Breed and was recently on John P Kee’s Section 8 Comedy Show in Charlotte N.C.  He has a casual style and sharp material that has been proven to be greatly appreciated by his audiences, young and old. His email address is biglos7380@nullgmail.com.

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