While the two genres may appear to make for strange bedfellows, they came together in glorious harmony on Saturday night at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena. The opening performance on March 19, marked the first in a multi-city tour for hugely successful comedian, Steve Hrvey, and gospel great, Kirk Franklin. The story goes that Harvey and Frankiln met during the Essence Music festival in New Orleans last year and decided on the spot that they should work together. But what we saw on stage didn’t look like work, not for these two seasoned performers.
Franklin’s talents could not have been showcased better than they were on the stage in Atlanta’s house of basketball. The capacity crowd cheered and applauded the energetic hit maker of “Stomp,” “Why We sing,” and “Throw Yo’ Hands Up,” as if they were watching their beloved Hawks on the court … and Franklin responded in-kind. On more than one occasion during the performance filled with dance and athletic movement, he jumped as if clearing the rim for a dunk. At the close of his show Franklin ran out into the frenzied crowd, stood on chairs and led the audience in “Silver and Gold.”Harvey, an original King of Comedy, and now a resident of Sandy Springs, Georgia, took the stage only a few moments later, and he owned it from the moment he stepped onto it. Harvey quipped that Franklin warned him to keep it clean and watch the cursing, to which he replied “What if I told him not to sing?” The religious theme took center stage at the beginning of Harvey’s act, with him calling himslef a “new Christian,” but he quickly braced the audience for a return to his roots – and some cursing – after a few well timed jokes about ‘black folks putting on airs.’ In Harvey’s classic style he engaged the audience with anecdotes from his childhood and current events comedy, all punctuated with the facial nuances that make him one of the most popular comedians around. Harvey also hosts “The Family Feud” television game show, “The Steve Harvey in the Morning” drivetime radio talk show. He is also the bestselling author of two relationship books.