In this climate of us vs. them, Cedric the Entertainer isn’t worried about being Cedric the Uniter.
As one of the “Original Kings of Comedy,” Cedric — who has shows in Brooklyn and New Jersey this weekend — is aware of how political correctness has had a major impact on comedians on the stand-up circuit. But the star of the hit CBS sitcom “The Neighborhood” — never known for down-and-dirty humor — is taking on the new terrain in stride, yet still being mindful about different audiences.
“It’s so interesting that you find that there is also this kind of political-divide difference,” he told the Daily News. “I mean, there are very really hard lines between red states, blue states, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals wherever you are.”
“The idea if you say anything in your show that kind of comes off as against one thing, you’re subject to, pissing a certain segment of your audience off,” he added.
“I try not to worry about that,” he continued. “I think it’s important that I try to take the attitude that if they would pay to come see me, they’ve got to expect to get what they see, and sometimes after being on CBS for a year, it’s this idea that people can feel like I’m a lot more of a safer comedian.”
“It’s tough,” the former “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” host continued. “You do have to be weary of it, but most kind of comedians I know, we just kind of do our thing and just let the chips fall.”
This weekend, Cedric joins fellow comics Deon Cole, Chico Bean and D’Lai for “Earthquake’s Father’s Day Comedy Show,” which is scheduled to play Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre June 15 and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center June 16.
For the past two weeks, radio listeners of WBLS-FM have been calling in to try to win tickets for the well-promoted comedy concerts.
The 55-year-old father of three is looking forward to bringing his brew of humor to audiences again after nonstop gigs in front of the camera; he also stars in Tracy Morgan’s TBS sitcom “The Last O.G.,” which has been renewed for a second season, and recently wrapped the civil rights era drama “Son of the South” portraying activist the Rev. Ralph Abernathy.
“I’m actually having a good time. I’ve been out on the road for a little bit during this spring already, just kind of doing our new material, and a lot more family stuff is going on,” he said. “I got kids that [are] starting to grow up, and be out in the world but they’re not really prepared to come from the generation where we come. I’m just having fun with that kind of talk.”
The Jefferson City, Mo., native promised that fans will get more of the “music and theatrics” he’s made his signature style as he rose to be fame more than 20 years ago. Alongside other popular “Def Comedy Jam”-affiliated comics Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and the late Bernie Mac, the troupe who became jokester juggernauts in the 1990s. In 2000, Spike Lee chronicled the foursome’s successful national arena tour for the Paramount Pictures film “The Original Kings of Comedy.”
Cedric The Entertainer — born Cedric Antonio Kyles — has had a good run since then. He fronted the TV Land “Hot In Cleveland” spinoff “The Soul Man” for five years and starred in Ice Cube’s “Barbershop” film franchise, among numerous other credits.
He’s even braved Broadway, in the 2008 revival of the David Mamet play “American Buffalo.”
“I’ve always been inspired by those comedians that can do great dramatic work,” the hefty humorist said. “Richard Pryor was really good at it. So was the late Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal. Some of these comics have that ability, to produce really strong stuff. I like that and I would love to come back to Broadway.”