In an era when it is common for comics to use four-letter words and make sexual innuendos, Jonathan Slocumb is known as "Mr. Clean." "Mixing comedy with gospel messages and music is certainly a unique approach," wrote Janine Coveney in Billboard, "and that's the road taken by newcomer Jonathan Slocumb." The difference for Slocumb is his Christian outlook. "My greatest challenge," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "is to show people that you can enjoy life, laugh and be a Christian. Besides, your health is better when you laugh." In one routine, Slocumb asks all of the Christians in the audience to raise their hands. Once identified, he asks them to perform the Christian slap test: slap your neighbor and see if they turn the other cheek. "I am gifted with the gift of laughter," Slocumb was quoted on Jewel Diamond Taylor's Web site. "I also have a commitment to the Lord and to myself to always entertain without vulgarities."
Even in grade school, Slocumb possessed a natural talent for comedy, and was voted "Most Humorous" by his classmates. He received the same honor in high school. At home, he entertained his parents and siblings in the family living room. Slocumb also had a talent for music and began serving as a choir director at the age of 12 in a Seventh Day Adventist church. Slocumb credited the church as a positive force in his early life. "Being raised in the Seventh Day Adventist denomination offered one of the most disciplined way[s] of growing up," he told Taylor. "There were many different ministers and other balanced individuals that impacted my life."
Slocumb attended Oakville College in Huntsville, Alabama, but nearly dropped out of the broadcast journalism program because of financial difficulties. During the last day of the term of his junior year, however, his friends presented him with a basket filled with money. Because Slocumb had the ability to make them laugh, they had raised enough money to keep him at Oakville for the next year and a half.
Slocumb started performing as a comic in his late twenties after working as an account representative for AT&T. He was discovered when Gail Hamilton of Choice Management saw him serve as the master of ceremonies for a gospel concert. Hamilton asked him if he had any more material, and soon he was touring as the opening act for Take 6. Later, Slocumb would open concerts for performers like Natalie Cole, Vanessa Bell, and Shirley Caesar, and co-host the Stellar Awards and Lou Rawls' Parade of Stars. His comic work was influenced by other "clean" comics like Bill Cosby, Sinbad, and Arsenio Hall. He admitted to Taylor that a number of comedians make him laugh. "But no one does it like Bill Cosby!!! He and Sinbad are the ones making my life as wonderful as it is."
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