It's not everyday that you get to speak to royalty. But this week, Weekly Alibi was graced with a conversation with one of the original Kings of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer. Somehow finding time between his widely famous network TV shows, “The Neighborhood” and “The Last O.G.,” and his ambitious film career, Cedric the Entertainer is touring the country with a new stand-up special. You can catch him on Saturday, June 29 at 8pm at Isleta Resort & Casino (11000 Broadway Blvd. SE).
Weekly Alibi: Tell me about this stand-up special you’re touring on.
Cedric: I'm just out on the road, having a good time and developing some new material. You know, I've had these two TV shows last year so it's really been a great year of just being on “The Neighborhood” on CBS and “The Last O.G.” on TBS. It's just been really busy and so it's nice to take the opportunity to kinda get back out there and hit the road, get in front of that live audience and write jokes again. I'm just having a good time.
Have you ever been to ABQ before?
I have! It was probably about six or seven years ago—it's been a while. I've had my share of red and green chile. It's all about your chile gangs down there, right?
So besides “The Neighborhood” and “The Last O.G.,” are you working on any new projects?
I'm also very active as a producer so we've got a couple of shows in development. I'm looking at doing a lot, from dramas to comedies. I'm really excited about getting some of these ideas going without necessarily being on camera but still being directly involved with these shows. Other than the upcoming “Lip Sync to the Rescue” show that I'm doing for CBS this summer, which will be a lot of fun. It's the lip sync battles but with first responders.
Do you like working with CBS?
Yeah, CBS has been great. They've been the number one place for multi-camera sitcoms. You can go all the way back to “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” they've had a really great run of it. And now to have an African American lead on this network, which isn't necessarily something that had been prevalent for them but it's been great. They've worked really hard at making sure that my voice is recognized.
I feel like we've seen a huge shift from the “tune in every Sunday” concept to the streaming culture. How do you feel about being on a major television network as opposed to Netflix or Hulu?
I think that when it comes down to it, we have a certain degree of traditions that people in this country kind of always lean to. When the younger generation, the more tech-savvy generations, come into play, you definitely see that they feel the streaming services are the more vogue or hip place to go to but this kind of sit down in front with the family, everybody gathered is the kind of unique, core family values. It’s something that everyone can watch together and it's something that I feel is still necessary in the world.
You've been in this business for a long time. You're a comedic staple, an icon. What are some of the differences that you've seen with how things are in the comedy culture, specifically stand-up culture, compared to how things were when you were first getting started?
Well, of course, the biggest thing is the new emergence of the “Instagram Comedian”—those people who have a lot of followers. They'll do the skits on Instagram and they now have the ability to come and sell out comedy clubs or take a veteran comedian's spot at a comedy club, and they're not someone who's really earned a true following and that's that new kind of space where people would say “Oh, I haven't seen this coming,” where a guy who would go and work out in clubs and try to build his name up would have to compete with two million followers and nobody knows who he is except for the people that follow him. And so that kind of new spacing is the thing that I see as a new challenge for club owners or supporters. I mean, you've got to respect it for the fact that you're able to talk to your core audience and get to your fans and have people who like you—that's something you've got to treat very special. You can't disregard it. You see this work to the advantage of the Kim Kardashians and the Kevin Harts and all these people who really know how to go get their audience—you've got to give that value.
Have you seen any differences in the joke structures themselves?
Yeah, it's not really about crafting the big well thought-out, smartly written clever joke all the time. I mean, you definitely have some young, funny comedians out there that work hard and really make a name for themselves but nowadays it's really about the quick hit. It's derived from people in comedy and their audience is on their phones and so therefore they've got a short attention span and they just want the “spoon feed me the joke and let me laugh and there you go.”
What's your advice for new stand-up comedians?
The main thing that I always tell to a young performer is to just try to do your craft as much as you can. Don't worry about getting famous. Don't worry about trying to make the most money. Don't try to get into the thing and have one good night and believe you deserve the whole world. The best thing you can do is to practice it. Do it as often as you can, and let your audience come to you.
Red or green chile?
Would you rather never wear a hat again or never be able to blow your nose again?
Blow my nose! I've got to wear a hat.
Describe your ideal hot dog.
It's grilled with the grill marks, kind of well-done. Mustard, ketchup, relish and jalapeno.
How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled with feta cheese.