EXCLUSIVE! Cedric The Entertainer Talks Nipsey Hussle, Gentrification, Upcoming Modesto Show

Cedric The Entertainer knew at a very early age that he’d perform on stages all over the world, making people laugh.

He just didn’t know what he’d be talking about!

“I’m not one to have a bunch of loaded up jokes ready to go at any given time,” Cedric told me during a conversation that I’d trepidatiously started. I’ve found comedians to be hard nuts to crack, as they’re often trying so hard to be funny during interviews that they don’t really reveal themselves.

Not so with Cedric. As funny as he is on stage and screen, his persona completely matches the man. He’ll bring his casual, innate sense of humor to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, California on October 26.

“I have to kinda be in the moment. I’ll just start talking about things, and it’ll be funny,” Cedric continued. “My comedy has got the pulse on what’s going on in society. I’m a big observational comedian. I talk about what’s happening in the news and music — you know, stuff that’s going on with pop culture — and I add a little bit of family stuff.”

“My show is a full night of well-branded, thought-out comedy.”

Cedric told me he knew at a very young age that he wanted to entertain, but he had to take care of a little business before he could “play” in front of millions of fans worldwide.

“I always felt that I was a funny kid,” Cedric humbly shared, “but my mother was a schoolteacher and education was a big part of our lifestyle, so I had to go to college. I remember telling her that I wanted to go to a school like the one in Fame because I could dance and I could sing.”

“After I graduated and discovered stand-up, it was just natural, man. I loved it! I went onstage and the first time I did it, I won $500. I was hooked!”

Fans of Cedric The Entertainer’s have been hooked for decades, having first come to know him as one of the original Kings Of Comedy, and later via television shows (The Steve Harvey Show; Soul Man) and movies (Barbershop, Ice Age). Currently, Cedric starts in CBS’ The Neighborhood, an old-school, multi-camera sitcom that’s been compared to All In The Family. Cedric plays a patriarch who balks when a white family from Michigan moves into their previously all-black southern California neighborhood.

Cedric said that very early in the show’s run, he heard from fans about what they wanted to see.

“I got a lot of response on Twitter and [other] social media about making sure we give just due to the seriousness of gentrification, of neighborhoods being whitewashed, and people being moved out,” Cedric said regarding feedback on the show’s early episodes. “We remember the unfortunate passing of Nipsey Hussle, and people saw how he was trying to really gentrify his own neighborhood, with businesses and ideas and giving people opportunities as opposed to complaining. He was getting involved.”

“We want to give examples of what it is to have pride in our neighborhoods, and show that people of other races, genders, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses can be welcome as long as they understand that we’re trying to make sure our neighborhoods are represented well.”

And as if to give us a taste of the comedy / commentary combo that the legend will bring to Modesto on October 26:

“I mean, don’t get me wrong: we want a Whole Foods [in our neighborhood],” Cedric The Entertainer said, with a wry smile. “But we don’t want to have Grandma thrown out of her house to get one!”

Click here to read MPC’s feature on Cedric The Entertainer, including more of their chat, in the October 2019 issue of The Gallo Center magazine.

Click here to get tickets to Cedric’s upcoming show at the Gallo Center.

Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, or follow him on Instagram or Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP

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Published by Michael P Coleman

Freelance writer. I used to get punished for talking to strangers. Now I get paid for it.

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