To most he’s a comedian and popular TV host, but to fans of the TV Land show “The Soul Man,” Cedric The Entertainer is Rev. Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine, a former soul singer turned pastor who moved from Las Vegas to St. Louis to take over his father’s church while still trying to adjust to his new role. Niecy Nash plays his wife, Lolli, who has an even more challenging time trying to adjust her mind (and necklines) to that of a First Lady. “The Soul Man” was recently awarded a second season which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on TV Land.
“We’re glad that people tuned in and that the network took a chance on brining us back for the second season,” Cedric told The Tom Joyner Morning Show. “We had to do a lot of campaigning to make sure that it was recognized. The numbers were really great for the network but we had to get more people over there, more of our folks to watch it on TV Land, so we did a second running on BET to get that awareness up. It’s going to take a great deal of support to make sure that people are tuning in and really loving the show.”
Though she plays a pastor’s wife, Nash’s impressive cleavage has almost become another character. When asked if the saints who watch had any reaction to this blatant display of Nash’s, um, womanliness, Cedric says they did.
“You know how the church is. [Niecy] calls on her blessings so she was just letting people count them,” he jokes.
On “The Soul Man” Reverend Ballentine is best known for his one big hit, but Cedric says there are a few more songs Ballentine recorded we don’t know about.
“He had “Spanking Ain’t Just For Kids,” that was a top record right there. And “I Didn’t Mean to Bite Your Thigh,” that was a hot one. That was one that got them through the early 80’s. That was big. “So Miserable Without You It’s Almost As Though You Were Here,” that was another one.” Cedric says his character was forced to leave soul music behind once the inevitable aging of his audience happened.
“Like all of us he was a sex symbol. He was Teddy Pendergrass up on that stage. Then he realized that it wasn’t thongs being thrown up on that stage anymore. He got hit with a Spanx one day and it felt as though the Lord was calling him on in.”
Although the cast realizes they have a responsibility to represent the Black church in a respectful way, “The Soul Man” is a comedy. So expect that in Season 2, even more straddling of that fine line will take place.
“We pushed the envelope even more so,” Cedric says. “It was one of those things as to where in the first season we wanted to tell the story of the guy and his transition and now I gotta live the lessons that we practice what we preach. You’ll see a lot of the things where we try to do the right things and we get caught up in them. We throw a party at our house and the wrong element shows up. That goes crazy. We do a same sex marriage and [that causes problems] with the older delegation. Paula Jai Parker is rocking a character and then Kim Wayans stops by and I do an episode about getting older and gotta get the prostrate exam. We’re trying to go a little bit outslde the church but still be related to what it is to be living on a righteous path.”
The second season of “The Soul Man” debuts tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on TV Land.