Cedric the Entertainer is more than just, well, an entertainer. For years, the man has mastered the art of comedy. He's been on Broadway, directs and acts. Cedric keeps his head on with a hat line called "Who Ced?" With two major movies to look out for this year, Larry Crowe and Selma, it's hard to imagine there could be more on his plate--but he still does standup, and will be at the Brea Improv tonight and tomorrow.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Who was the first person you ever saw do standup live?
Cedric the Entertainer: It had to be Richard Pryor. You know, not live ... well, that would be interesting. Physically I would say my best recollection would be Don Rickles on The Tonight Show.
Okay, but what about LIVE though?
It was Tommy Davidson. He was really animated and extremely hilarious. I couldn't believe that somebody could be up there that long and make people laugh for an hour! It was crazy to see.
Do you like doing sketch comedy or stand up more?
I'm probably a bigger fan of sketch in a sense that it's the greater combination of the two. You have that freedom in the moment, kind of like the improvisation you have with stand-up. At the same time, you are inside the scene of playing a character and acting that out. That's something I really like to do.
Is that why you've been known to channel characters in your act?
I added that into my stand-up early on with "The Cafeteria Lady" and you know, a grandma sitting on the porch, or a preacher at McDonalds. That was one of the things I really got excited about as a performer when I first started out and I would consider that my favorite.
Would you consider doing another sitcom?
I'd probably give a sitcom a try. You know they are making a comeback with shows like Modern Family and Hot in Cleveland being big hits. It's something I would give a shot to, yeah.
How did you come up with your character's name on The Steve Harvey Show?
[Laughs] You know it was just one of those things where the writers took my name and just wanted to come up with these funny little analogies.
I love when people get to keep their own names in non-reality shows.
[Laughs] Oh yeah! It easier because people are calling you that all day anyway so then you gotta put a little tag on it and be like, alright ... cool. People really think I'm from Willacoochee, Georgia because of that show. That is something I always have to explain to folks. I'm not really from there!
Are you on Twitter?
Yes! I'm @CedEntertainer. The Twitter thing is fun. I don't tweet enough but I gotta do it more but from time to time, I just jump in and go on with it. Sometimes I'm just on a roll and say funny stuff all day and then sometimes I'm like ... that's not my thing.
Do you keep in touch with Spike Lee?
I see him quite a bit. I definitely have his number, and when I'm in New York I stay in touch. I just saw him at All-Star weekend, and we had a good time together laughing at the Michael Jordan event. Not like a regular hang-out buddy though. He's not like someone I go and shoot pool with.
That would be crazy to walk into a pool hall and see you and Spike Lee shooting some stick. I sense he'd be aiming for the white ball all night.
[Laughs] That would be classic.
What was more nerve-racking, performing at the Apollo or the White House dinner?
Oh the Apollo was way more nerve-racking! At least at the White House people will be dignified. At the Apollo you might get chased and a dog sicced on you, people will throw stuff. And not just tomatoes but hard items like canned goods. I was nervous. I was shaking like a new inmate at the Apollo!
So you've done Miller Lite commercials, won a Johnny Walker national comedy contest ... what is your cocktail of choice?
I am actually a tequila drinker. I like Don Julio chilled, and I sip it on the rocks. In a cognac glass.
Do you keep your pinkie finger out when you do that?
Never. I'm too gangsta for that.
When I was doing my research, I came across this unanswered question online: "Was Cedric the Entertainer in Purple Rain?" Care to shed some light?
[Laughs] No! They thought I was the guy that owned the nightclub or something? That's why I am in the gym now; people always think that with anybody big.
At least people don't mistake you're Earthquake or someone huge!
Oh no! Someone asked me if I was Cee-lo Green! I'm like, hell no! I started running there in place right there on the spot.
You should've been like, "Forget youuuuu."
Right! Haaaa! Yeah!
So if Hollywood decided to come out with a reality show called, Comic Wives, would you be into it?
Comic Wives? Oh my god no! I wouldn't want my wife to go on a show like that where they'd sit around and argue about comedy [laughs].
What can fans expect to see at your show this weekend at the Brea Improv?
I'm just going to come out and have a good time on stage. I like to get out there, and I'm adding new bits. I got a great fun show with new material. It's going to be a good time because I come out and enjoy myself on stage. I am definitely looking forward to having a good time. That's where it all starts; you get free and build a name for yourself. I'm like a new guy. I'm like someone brand new coming up right now.
Are you going to change your name?
Yeah! Chedrick The Entertainer!
You know, you're pretty damn funny. That might just catch on.
You can follow Cedric on Twitter @CedEntertainer. To read more about him check out his web site, ceddybear.com. Get your tickets now to see Cedric at the Brea Improv tonight (3/4) and Saturday (3/5). For tickets call 714-482-0700 or log onto: www.improv.com
The Brea Improv is located at 120 South Brea Blvd. (21+ over)