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KING ME: Cedric the Entertainer

“Ain’t No Joke”

These may be the dying days of stand-up, but looking at Cedric the Entertainer, you’d never know it. By the time this year reaches its halfway mark, the funnyman will have starred in four films (in addition to Be Cool, Man of the House, and Madagascar, Ced is playing Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners), and his careers onstage and on celluloid show no signs of slowing. Entering the game about a decade ago, Ced, now 41, didn’t waste much time clearing his own footpath to the comedians’ Holy Land: Hollywood. Unfortunately, many of the frosh funnymen trying to travel in his footsteps are finding nothing but detours and dead ends. The Missouri native sat down with KING to discuss why the future of black comedy is no laughing matter.

On the lack of a big stage for black comedians:

“For African Americans, it used to be, ‘Let me get on Def Comedy Jam‘—especially when Martin [Lawrence] was the host. Then The Tonight Show was the pinnacle, but now it makes no difference. If you’re a comic today, there’s really no place you can go and truly get your shine on, where you feel if you make this one show, you’ll blow up next time.”

Comparing the older generation of comics to his:

“For the older generation, the biggest thing was to do a Las Vegas show. They didn’t have sitcoms for Don Rickles and Jonathan Winters. These guys were stand-up comedians who would maybe do a movie or two, but that was it. But for our generation, if you don’t have a big hit television show on a major network, or if you’re not doing film, then who are you?”

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