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Cedric the Entertainer returns to Ct. neighborhood at Mohegan Sun May 11

May 1, 2019

Cedric the Entertainer came to a broad view of his career early on, which is why he previously was known as The Amazing Cedric Kyles as he moved from singer while studying theater in college to comedian to movie actor (“Barbershop”), voice actor, TV host and sitcom star.

“I’ve always been a bit of a restless soul, man,” he said in a recent phone chat from Montgomery, Alabama, where he was shooting a role for the film “Son of the South.” One reason he stuck with the name Cedric the Entertainer is “I feel really blessed to be able to do so many different things.”

He has enjoyed playing Connecticut’s casinos before, but Saturday, May 11, he returns to Mohegan Sun Arena with the fresh cachet of a renewed TV show in “The Neighborhood” on CBS.

“I was really happy about this year... that the show caught on and we’re starting to find an audience that loves the show consistently,” he said. “The cast started to jell really well and we thought that we had some really fun and informative episodes.”

He said the goal for the second season is to get some clarity on the idea of gentrification, on “the idea of unity and everybody living together, that there (is) still tension over, you know, ‘is it right?’

“How do you lead by example?” he said. “That’s more what I want Calvin (his character) to do and along with Dave (Max Greenfield), is to show the idea of becoming more community-involved so that your property values ... and how you try to upgrade your neighborhood, can and will be an improvement to everybody who lives there. And you don’t need another culture to move in to give your neighborhood value.”

Cedric, 55 and married with children, recently was seen on the TV special “Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration.” He said that “when asked to co-host a show with Smokey Robinson, who’s a good friend of mine, a neighbor and a legend, of course, it was just a no-brainer.”

As a contrast to today, Cedric hosted the White House correspondents dinner in 2005, with George W. Bush seated at the head table and enjoying laughs. But just days ago, the current president and press secretary stayed far away from the event and there was no comic host.

“It started to be where people felt like they were being picked on,” Cedric speculated, noting last year’s controversy with Michelle Wolf and Sarah Sanders. That was harsh, we agreed, but then President Trump can be harsh to many, no?

“You know how the school bully is, they can never take a punch,” Cedric said.

One of the original “Kings of Comedy,” Cedric is also seen with Tracy Morgan on “The Last O.G.” on TBS, and his comedy can run a tad edgy (but not malicious). So part of the fun is seeing him on CBS, an old-school TV network in an era of Facebook “news,” racial politics and concern over police shootings.

“We understand that you can get edge in a million places, with the growth of Netflix, Hulu and all these streamers,” Cedric said. “There’s so many shows with snarky attitudes and everything, but the idea ... (of his show) is get to know the person. Like, know who you’re talking to first. Don’t make these assumptions.

“...We come to know each other and now you have communication, understanding, conversation and then you have growth. That’s the fun part of the show. We get to say something serious and then we also find a lot of funny in just being humane — family, fathers, husbands, those kind of things.”

Speaking of which, the comic’s routine dabbles in politics but it’s more about family, aging and appreciating his kids after missing so much of their lives while on the road. (“Now I’m like, ‘hey, come here and sit in my lap!’ But my son’s 17... it’s a little weird.”).

And he has a whole bit about coalitions of voices on Twitter, including “black Twitter. Like, you don’t want no trouble with black Twitter, boy. Then you’ll hurt yourself.”

jamarante@nhregister.com; @Joeammo on Twitter