Cedric the Entertainer Talks Netflix is a Joke and His Stand-up Directorial Debut

Written by on May 11, 2024

Cedric The Entertainer
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 06: Cedric the Entertainer attends the premiere of “Ghosts” and “The Neighborhood” during the 39th annual PaleyFest LA at Dolby Theatre on April 06, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

*With a catalog of hit sitcoms (“The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Soul Man,” “The Neighborhood”) and movies (“The Original Kings of Comedy,” “Johnson Family Vacation” and the “Barbershop” film series) under his belt, it’s safe to say Cedric the Entertainer knows something about comedy.

Knowing his fame and the power of it, the “Last O.G.” fixture is making a point to give back with the Cedric the Entertainer Charitable Foundation, which has funded outreach programs and hundreds of student scholarships in his home state of Missouri; Cedric the Entertainer Celebrity Golf Classic (benefiting L.A.’s Kyles Family Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Camarillo), his ComedyPays.com project with producer Aaron Kaplan (which gives a little boost” to up-and-coming talent) and recently hosting “Dodgers Comedy Night” at the Orpheum Theatre as part of the Netflix Is a Joke Festival.

Chatting with the Los Angeles Times, Cedric opens up about his involvement with Netflix Is a Joke’s “Dodgers Comedy Night and helming his stand up directorial debut.

How did hosting Netflix Is a Joke’s “Dodgers Comedy Night” come about?
Netflix is the preeminent place for comedy these days, it’s a big celebration, everybody’s going to be in L.A. so you want to be a part of it somehow. Me growing up in St. Louis, [the Cardinals] was our most consistent and top championship team of all, especially in my lifetime. Baseball was a big part of my background, and I have a great loyalty to the Cardinals. When I go to the game out here, sometimes I get in trouble for having all my Cardinals stuff on. They take their Dodgers very seriously here.

I co-hosted Clayton Kershaw’s tournament, his ping-pong charity event, last summer down at the stadium. We had a good time with it, and I think a lot of the players saw me at that point and just thought I was cool. I’ve done some things with manager Dave Roberts as a part of my “Greatest @Home” TV show, where he’s participated in making some little kid’s dreams come true and bringing them to the ball game with his grandfather. And of course, I’ve been knowing Magic Johnson, and he’s an owner in that group [Guggenheim Baseball Management], for many years. So I was honored to do this with Will and his wife Cara, and support their charity.

Anthony Anderson and Cedric The Entertainer
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – MAY 24: (L-R) Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson attend the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night at The Beverly Hilton on May 24, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation)

The new Kookaburra Lounge is opening as part of Netflix Is a Joke, after which you will be directing a stand-up special there for your first time.
Malik S is one of my strong opening acts, a very funny young comedian from Miami. He’s been writing on ‘The Neighborhood” since the beginning, but he actually wrote on my TV show “Soul Man” too. He wanted to do a comedy special, and he asked me to direct it since I’ve been part of his career and know his stand-up and everything. I have been directing episodes of “The Neighborhood,” so this was an exciting opportunity for me to direct my first special.

I’ve watched him many years. When he first started opening for me, he was extremely raw. I called him my “shotgun rider.” He would go out before me and make sure that the audience is paying attention. His comedy was very aggressive and straight-to-your-face and made sure you had to be paying attention. So by the time I came to the stage, it was to people there that were ready for comedy. They weren’t going to be talking. They knew they couldn’t do that, because Malik had set the tone straight.

And now he’s writing on TV shows and doing all these things with really interesting perspectives on life. It’s very edgy and unique and not from a point of view that I feel is “safe.” He says things that are really applicable to his life, and sometimes they can be controversial, but I like that. He is bold and a straight shooter and experimenter. He likes to take chances on material and things that come in his head. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by his special. And by knowing him like that, his personality and who he is, tonally that’s what I can find in my direction: Making sure that he comes off not as just a guy telling jokes, but someone who we’re going to give you an experience about who he is.

We went by the new Kookaburra Lounge, their new great comedy venue inside the Hollywood and Highland center. Beautifully done. Got kind of a Art Deco, retro feel to it. Sexy, great room, great staff, everybody was really excited to have us there. So on May 23, we plan to do two shows. I’ll just do a little few minutes of hosting and get the vibe good. And then I got to go put on my director’s beret and my little bullhorn, my long boots.

It’s going to be a really great time, and this is something special. I think people will love this venue and people will start doing comedy there as a place to, one, probably shoot specials at a beautiful-looking venue, but also just to go and kill it. I think it’s going to be a great new comedy venue in the city.

Cedric The Entertainer
Cedric The Entertainer

For more of Cedric the Entertainer’s interview with the LA Times, click here.

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