Cedric the Entertainer has always been fond of his joke about what it would be like if R. Kelly became a preacher. Now he’s built a new TV Land sitcom around the premise.
On “The Soul Man,” premiering Wednesday, June 20, Cedric plays the Rev. Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine, a former R&B star who made ladies swoon with such bump-and-grind hits as “Sex Wichoo.” But he’s given up his lustful ways to take over as minister at his father’s St. Louis church.
Cedric says he envisions a montage that traces the Rev. Boyce’s path from “singing soul to saving souls.”
“We’ll have this progression from when I first started, and you’ll see these sexy thongs get thrown onstage, and the girls are loving me,” he tells Zap2it. “Then finally the underwear gets bigger and bigger till you get big Spanx hitting me across the face. Then I’m like, ‘You know what, it’s time to move on.’ “
The series’ humor will have to maintain a tricky balance, Cedric says, between being respectful and, well, being funny.
“It is a bit of a tightrope that we’re walking, because you’ve got to be careful how you portray the Christian community,” he says. “Anyone running for office [can tell you], you don’t want to make the evangelicals mad. But at the same time, I do think we live in the real world. We’ll look at what is the job of a minister, especially one who knows it not from always having walked the holy life of a Christian but a guy who has actually been where you are.”
The Rev. Boyce — who was introduced last year in an episode of “Hot in Cleveland” — will have to find ways to deal with issues such as having a wife (Niecy Nash) who isn’t quite ready to give up the fast life, a daughter (Jazz Raycole) who wants to date and go to clubs, and a younger brother (Wesley Jonathan) who is more interested in turning him into “the next Joel Osteen” than in helping the congregation.