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Bob Leslie, preacher and comedian, wins CGMA comedian of the decade award

The Country Gospel Music Association awards artists with the comedian of the decade award, according to who has received the most awards within 10 years.
Bob Leslie receives an award from CGMA, presented by Aven Grace, for comedian of the decade.

WILKIE — Bob Leslie, Wilkie preacher, gospel singer, and comedian has been honoured by the Gospel Music Association, as the comedian of the decade for numerous awards earned over the last 10 years.

During his decades-spanning career, Leslie has met other well-known artists from North America, ranging from Aven Grace to Tony Bennet. He’s sung in Nashville and had the opportunity to travel around the world to perform.

“Well, I think it’s an honour, isn’t it? It’s a pleasure, it’s a treat, it’s special for a mature gentleman like myself,” Leslie said.

He says the award is extremely special to him. At one point he was a member of a nightclub band, and they always needed a comic. “They picked me to do the little snippets, and (humour) has become a part of me; it’s who I am.” 

Leslie recounted a time when he was doing a TV show in Branson, Mo., and they introduced a well-known opera singer before him. 

“They said he’s played in New York, London, and they named all the major cities singing all these major operas. Then they said, now we have another guest. He’s from Wilkie, Sask.” 

The Leslies moved to Wilkie in 2007, seeking retirement. 

“We wanted to move to a safe community where we can travel, and we loved it. It’s a good community,” Leslie’s wife of 64 years, Joan Leslie, said. 

“When we got married, they said, ‘those two, they’ll never make it.’ That’s just the power of God to change your life because we were the least likely candidates.”

Joan expanded on her husband’s beginnings, saying, “I think, initially, he sang in the bars and nightclubs, and he had a measure of success. Then he sang with a house band for a number of years, and they were a really tight group. After (he) came to faith in Christ and started serving the Lord, (he) grew.

“He once had a pastor tell him, ‘Bob, you have a story to tell,’ so Bob arranged to go and sing and tell his testimony in churches. Some of his songs are three minutes sermons of hope, encouragement and joy,” Joan said.

Though Bob hasn’t performed since a July concert, he’s excited to continue. 

“I’m looking forward to it again, instead of sitting around and thinking that I’m 86. We’ve got to look forward, we don’t look back,” he said.

He hasn’t pursued anything yet, but he’s planning to start after the COVID-19 pandemic fully subsides.

“Celebrate the good things that happen.” 

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