Cedric the Entertainer to perform in Orlando
Cedric the Entertainer seems the perfect choice to perform at the Florida Classic Kickoff Show because of his commitment to education through his charitable foundation.
“I grew up in a singleparent household,” said the stand-up comedian who was born Cedric Kyles. “My mother was a schoolteacher. Education was a big part of how our lives were changed.”
Cedric, 53, recalled how a visit to a college campus impressed him as a child. “You do feel empowered by the environment,” he said. “Once I started to make money, I just wanted to be able to provide that experience to people. If you wanted to go to college, then that’s what the scholarship was all about.”
The weekend celebrates college friends reuniting as Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University face off on the football field Saturday. Cedric’s kickoff show starts 8 p.m. Thursday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Tickets start at $57.50 at drphillipscenter.org. Show proceeds benefit scholarship programs at both universities.
Cedric’s foundation has helped students in his native Missouri as well as those at historically black colleges. He called it a great pleasure to hear from those students.
“There’s something really prideful about that, to know you contributed to people going and living their dreams,” he said.
He takes pride, too, in being part of the Original Kings of Comedy tour with D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey and Bernie Mac. These days, Cedric is on the Comedy Get Down Tour with Hughley, Eddie Griffin and George Lopez.
“We’re older and mature,” Cedric said. “It just works. We enjoy these days that we get to be together.”
Cedric does a little President Donald Trump humor. “I try not to beat him up too much because everybody does it,” he said. “Nobody really likes this guy,” he said, adding, “Dog is man’s best friend, and this guy doesn’t have one.”
Cedric’s sitcom “Soul Man” ended last year, but he’s acting with Tracy Morgan in “The Last O.G.,” to debut next year on TBS. Cedric also has a deal with CBS to develop three shows, and he will star in one.
His favorite film roles are those in “Be Cool” (“a bit of a bad boy”), “Top Five” and the “Barbershop” series, which he says changed his life.
Cedric tries to tour every weekend and prizes standup most.
“It’s kind of the purest form of what you do,” he said. “There’s no studio executive there, no other producers with points of view that you have to satisfy. You get that immediate reaction, the opportunity of trying a joke, somebody going ‘that’s hilarious’ right away. It’s hard. I still consider it a young man’s sport.”
But he keeps at it, while noting pitfalls. “With so many being able to condemn you on Twitter or any social platform if it’s taken out of context, your career could be in jeopardy,” he said. “It’s a difficult space when you’ve got something to lose, as a celebrity with a brand. I would love to say this joke, but can I? Can I get away it? It’s interesting we live in these times where self-censorship is one of the great things to hurt art.” Does he censor himself? “I try to fight it. I’m a risktaker,” he said. “I’d never really do it super recklessly, but I will jump off the top rope.”
Cedric the Entertainer will perform at the Florida Classic Kickoff Show on Thursday.