Cedric the Entertainer | Interview
Cedric the Entertainer delivers Baby New Year.
Not sated by Cedric the Entertainer’s ubiquitous voiceover work (currently featured in Madgascar 2 and Cadillac Records)? Catch the man himself, one of the four stand-ups featured in Spike Lee’s 2000 doc The Original Kings of Comedy, at his two New Year’s Eve shows at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
Time Out Chicago: You’ll be ringing in the new year at a casino—do you gamble?
Cedric the Entertainer: I’m not much of a gambler. Now, I will gamble when I’m with my players, which, of course, my main crew will be with me for New Year’s Eve. Last [New Year’s Eve], we were in Detroit, and I gambled after the show and won pretty nicely, so that might be my ritu-al.
TOC: You have a preference? Craps, blackjack?
Cedric the Entertainer: Craps is my game of choice. I played with Charles Barkley one time, roulette, and won some money, but that was when he was on his lucky roll.
TOC: You made your Broadway debut last month in David Mamet’s American Buffalo. How was that?
Cedric the Entertainer: It was the quickest turnaround in my life. [Laughs] It was great, man. I was sad to see that the play didn’t really last that long, but I enjoyed it.
TOC: Why do you think it closed after just one week?
Cedric the Entertainer: One, it’s a very tough economy. We had a lot of producers. Nobody really wanted to take the chance after a couple of nonfavorable reviews.
TOC: Especially Ben Brantley’s review in The New York Times, right?
Cedric the Entertainer: Yeah, he was mean-spirited. Luckily for me, I didn’t get the wrath of what he was going through, but the play and the director, he just let them have it, and that was pretty much it.
TOC: You entertained George Bush at the White House a few years ago. Are you thinking up jokes for Obama?
Cedric the Entertainer: I’ve been working on them a little bit, but he’s like a robot human right now—he’s just this well-loved, well-liked person. So you’ve got to find the right angle so that people won’t go, “Heyyy, watch it!”
TOC: Comedians keep complaining he’s not the easiest target.
Cedric the Entertainer: In this interim period, he’s being so extremely cordial to everybody and making sure he doesn’t cross any lines, but I mean the second he’s sworn in, he might tell three people to kiss his whole ass—Bill O’Reilly on the top of that list.
TOC: So things’ll change come January 20.
Cedric the Entertainer: I think there’s gonna be some clarity that he gonna be Mister Man once it’s official. And he’s not showin’ his trump card before then.
TOC: I hear Dionne Warwick invited you to her inaugural ball in D.C.
Cedric the Entertainer: I did, I got invited to a couple of different balls there, so I do plan on being a part of it and celebrating. It’s gonna be a good time. I just don’t want it suddenly too Freaknik.
TOC: What’s that?
Cedric the Entertainer: [Laughs] You know what Freaknik is?
TOC: Can’t say I do.
Cedric the Entertainer: That used to be the old college spring break that happened in Atlanta when everybody brought their cars out and, you know, you show off your jewelry. I know this is a moment of pride, but we just don’t want it to turn into Freaknik.
TOC: Your voice is all over the place, especially as animated animals. Is it easier for you to get that work than starring roles in Hollywood?
Cedric the Entertainer: It’s a good thing it’s being offered because you can go two or three months without an African-American-themed or led movie.
TOC: Speaking of your connection to the wild kingdom, is it true somebody broke into your SUV at San Diego’s Wild Animal Park last August?
Cedric the Entertainer: Yeah, man. They’ve got some ring that can get into GM cars. We had all of our luggage in the Yukon, and they just took everything.
TOC: The name “Cedric the Entertainer”—you started calling yourself that at a show one time?
Cedric the Entertainer: I was getting paid to do 30, 40 minutes onstage, and the guy kept introducing people as comedians; he was saying, “This next comedian…” And I told him, “Look, I don’t have enough jokes for 40 minutes.” I would sing a song, I would do poetry, I would stretch the time onstage. So I just told him to call me an entertainer, and he went onstage and called me Cedric the Entertainer.
TOC: If not “Cedric the Entertainer,” Cedric the…?
Cedric the Entertainer: The All-Awesome Great Oracle of Entertainment. My autograph would be really, really long.
Cedric the Entertainer plays the Venue at Horseshoe Casino December 31 at 7:30pm and 10pm.