Sunday, June 6, 2010

Willie Brown and Woody in Atlanta! by Jaha Zainabu

Comedian / ventriloquist Willie Brown is always on the go. He travels with his partner, Woody, who doesn't seem to know that he is a puppet. Shhh, don't tell him he's not real. But when Willie brings Woody out of that suitcase, you forget too. This duo will have your jaw open.

Last night they performed at St. Philip AME Church in Decatur, GA, just outside Atlanta. St. Philip is a beautiful, immaculate church. Well, much more than a church. A huge campus with a full gym, many meeting halls, a bookstore, and even more. As I walked into the Marcia H. Moss Fellowship Hall, I expected something great to happen. It was the perfect date / family night outing.

The show was produced by Roc Steady Entertainment. This was the second of their many shows to come. Comedian Ms. Elaine followed by Yohance powerfully opened the show. When the host introduced Willie Brown and Woody, the crowd, clearly familiar with the team, cheered and gave great applause. Willie performed solo for a bit before he brought out Woody. He was as funny without Woody as he is with his partner. He had the crowd rolling as he told his personal stories in such a funny way. He told stories about his mother who moved in with him and how she makes it clear that she is not nosy, she just "wants to know." Stories about his father and how he used to refer to his wife (Willie's mother) as "them people" in an argument. "Them people that don't wanna cook, don't wanna do dishes, don't wanna take out the trash." Stories about his son having allergies. Being allergic to looking for a job that is. Then he opened that red suitcase, currently home to Woody.

Now, if you haven't seen Woody, trust me please, you are missing an absolute treat! How Willie brings Woody to life like that is proof of his awesome talent. No matter how many times I see him, I still get lost and trapped into Woody's stories, expressions, impressions, and yes, even his songs. But that's not all. Willie had another guest with him. After he put Woody back into the suitcase, and Woody did not go without a fight, he pulled out Uncle Rufus! Believe me, you are not ready for Uncle Rufus. A curmudgeon old man who serves on the "ursher" board at his church. Uncle Rufus didn't seem to be happy about anything. He sure made the crowd happy though. Hands were slappin' knees, bellies were bouncin', fingers pointin' and laughter filled the room. Last night was a treat! Willie Brown lives here in Georgia but is on the road so much it was our blessing he was here.

Also on the show was Chinnita Morris, formally known as Chocolate. As always, she brought her talent to the table. That sista is crazy! In a very good way of course. She kept us rollin' out of our seats as she gave her interpretations of scripture and funny things that go on in the church and in the lives of single women.

I said all of that to say that if you weren't there, make sure that you are there next time. Oh, I don't want to leave out that Shelly Garrett and his wife, Doris were in the house. Shelly is the author and director of the play, Beauty Shop. Yes, that Beauty Shop from back in the day. Well, it's back again and Willie Brown and Woody play a very big part. Check them out as they are rolling all around and to a city near you soon!

Look forward to seeing much more of Willie Brown and Woody. To find out more, please visit

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