Interview: Cedric the Entertainer on Philips Arena concert 9/30, 'Barbershop,' Netflix special

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cedric the Entertainer has managed to stay true to his name the past 20 years on stage, on TV and in movies.

Recently, he concluded a five-season run on TV Land starring in "Soul Man," received raves for his performance on the latest "Barbershop" film and just released his first Netflix stand-up comedy special earlier this month.

Cedric, whose real name is Cedric Antonio Kyles, will come back to Atlanta Friday for the Comedy Get Down tour with George Lopez, Eddie Griffin and Charlie Murphy. (The tour came to Philips a year ago as well.) Tickets are available here from $29.50 to $89.75 .

"The show has done really well," said Cedric, who was also part of the groundbreaking Kings of Comedy tour more than 15 years ago featuring Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and the late Bernie Mac. "We are now working on a BET show. It's like 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' loosely based on the things we've done on tour. There's a script and we act it out. We ended up writing 10 episodes."

He is also energized by the positive reaction from his recent Netflix comedy show "Live from the Ville," his first TV stand-up special in a decade. Netflix viewers have given it a four star rating out of five so far.

In it, Cedric tackles a range of topics, such as being mistaken for Cee Lo Green, the absurdities of Snapchat, suicidal possums and the hip-hop influence in country music. (He even sings a portion of Trace Adkins' "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.")

"Netflix is a great home for comedy," Cedric said. "It sure felt like a place to do something different. I wanted to get my voice in for the Millennials where they watch. [Cedric is 52.] Netflix has impact, global impact. I'm really happy."

Cedric also lightly tackles politics.

"Of course, Donald Trump is such an easy target," he said. "I take my two or three jabs at him. I definitely have my take on some things going on in society. I try to take the responsible angle and the comedic angle. I have a lot of stuff getting out to vote. The Black Lives Matter movement. It feels relevant and right on top of things. With the elections getting closer, I feel like a school fight is happening!"

The only downside to doing specials, he said, is having to give up some of his favorite jokes to the world. "I want to be able to do this joke whenever I feel like it!" he said. But as he knows, jokes are not quite like songs for musicians. Fans don't necessarily want to hear the same jokes every time they see him. He admires comics like Louis C.K. who flip their material 100 percent every 18 months to two years.

Cedric enjoyed his time shooting "Barbership: The Next Cut" last year in Atlanta. He and the other main players were wary about doing a sequel after the second one came out in 2004. "No one wanted to ruin this franchise just for the sake of cash," he said.

But they liked the script, which was focused on violence in Chicago. "It was a no brainer for most of us to jump in ," he said. "I wanted it to not just be a great film but take an attitude and point of view where life imitates art." The film received solid reviews and brought in a profitable $54 million in domestic box office.

He is noticing how Atlanta is becoming more solidified as the "Hollywood of the South." "I see all these updated facilities. You have all these new restaurants, great shopping, great hotels."

Cedric was grateful for TV Land giving him the lead role on "The Soul Man," where he played a preacher for 66 episodes. "I wish we could have gone longer," he said, "but TV Land was going in a different direction." In other words, it's opting for younger audiences with shows such as the appropriately titled "Younger" and "Impastor."


"The Comedy Get Down" with Cedric the Entertainer, George Lopez, Charlie Murphy, Eddie Griffin

8 p.m. September 30


Philips Arena

1 Philips Dr, Atlanta

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.