ALBANY -- Calling him talented, funny and a great playwright, fans of Tyler Perry filed into the Albany Civic Center on Tuesday to see him peform live in "Madea's Big Happy Family."
And as traffic backed up near the Civic Center on Oglethorpe Boulevard and fans waited in long lines to get in, there was no doubt of Perry's popularity in Albany.
"I'll take my granddaughter to see Tyler Perry," said Albany resident Jackie Smith about her 4-year-old granddaughter, Anbreya Smith. "I wouldn't take her to see Eddie Murphy; no, not Eddie Murphy."
Murphy is known to be more than a little raunchy, while Perry is not, his fans say.
The consensus of the waiting crowd about Perry was that he is a funny man who is firmly entrenched in family, religion and the more wholesome things of life.
"I love everything Tyler Perry stands for in his movies and in person," said Albany resident Freda Venisee. "He is part of the 21st century and what is going on now."
It is his ability to tell humorous stories that people can relate to that attracted more than 5,000 people, including Maryann Smith of Albany, to the show.
"He tells us stories about real life," Smith said. "He tells us stories that we all have in our lives."
Those interviewed Tuesday said Perry's humor grows out of family, religion and the world as seen by a man who has moved up, but who has not forgotten his origins.
"He went from the poorhouse to the penthouse," said Natasha Clayton of Albany. "And we are richer for it."
Brea Ditzel of Colquitt put it a simpler way, "He is the bomb."
Perry has starred, directed and written a number of popular movies, including "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "The Family That Preys," and has a sitcom on TBS, "The House of Payne." Stepping outside his own projects, he also played the role of Adm. Richard Barnett in J.J. Abrams' successful big screen reboot of the sci-fi classic "Star Trek" last year.