Hooked on comedy


POSTED: Friday, October 16, 2009

Take a risk. Try something new. That's the motto of Cedric the Entertainer, who makes his Hawaii debut tomorrow at Blaisdell Arena.

Starting with an appearance on “;It's Showtime at the Apollo”; in 1992, the man born Cedric Kyles went on star in a variety of comedy specials and TV shows before making the jump to movie roles about a decade ago. In recent months, he's been a featured guest host on World Wrestling Entertainment's “;Monday Night RAW”; and an invited celebrity player at the 2009 World Series of Poker. He also hopes to release his directorial debut in theaters soon.

But no matter the venue, Cedric knows its his comedic talent and outgoing personality that ends up winning people over and turning them into lifelong fans. Earlier this week, he shared with the Star-Bulletin some of the secrets to his success—and what it takes to remain in the limelight for an extended period of time.





        » Where: Blaisdell Arena, 777 Ward Ave.

» When: 8 p.m. tomorrow


» Cost: $45, $75 and $100


» Info: 593-7784 or




QUESTION: When did you realize you wanted to do stand-up comedy as a career?

ANSWER: There had been a large growth in stand-up when I got into it in the late '80s.

Shows like “;In Living Color”; were on; you had Eddie Murphy's success from “;Saturday Night Live,”; and Martin Lawrence was starting to have his own success. It started to become a time where comedy became a little more of a choice a guy could make if he felt like he could entertain a crowd.

I went up like most people, as a bet with my friends. They wanted me to go up on stage, and I just made up a quick five minutes of stuff that I would do around my boys.

The first time I ever did comedy, I won $500. I've been hooked ever since.

Q: Early on, you were given opportunities to perform on shows like “;Showtime at the Apollo,”; “;Def Comedy Jam”; and “;The Steve Harvey Show.”; Can you point to any particular show as being the catalyst for your success?

A: The thing that I would consider the biggest catalyst was when I became the host of B.E.T.'s “;Comedy View.”;

I did “;Def Comedy Jam”; and it was a good splash to put my name out there on the national landscape, but when I became the host (on B.E.T.), I was on every night. It gave me a big opportunity to become a star with that particular niche.

I went from a guy who was kinda the opening act for somebody big, to being the guy where I could show up by myself and sell out venues. That changed my life right there. All drinks were on me at that point.

Q: How hard was it to make the transition from TV to movies?

A: It was fairly easy for me. I was used to going into full character in order to deliver. The biggest thing I had to learn about television was the technical aspect, like, which way to turn so my face would always be in front of the camera.

But as far as trusting what it was I wanted to deliver on screen, I would kinda just buy into the character I was developing. That was fairly easy for me.

Q: Like most experienced actors, you've been a part of successful productions as well as a few flops. How do you get your mind right after encountering failure?

A: The biggest thing I try to tell anyone is that if you're gonna be a performer, you've got to realize that everything you do isn't going to be golden.

You can put that on guys as good as Denzel (Washington) or Brad Pitt. You know that they're great, but if you're gonna have the opportunity to kinda let your ideas flow and take a chance on being creative, then you're also gonna experience the highs and lows of that.

The biggest thing you want to do is hopefully have the opportunity to rebound. Everybody says you gotta get up and get back on the bike, but the thing about this business is that they often come and take the bike away from you. You have to be very careful about when and where you fall.

Q: As your career progresses, have your goals changed?

A: As you mature as a human being, you also begin to see the opportunities to be responsible to your community.

If you can use your celebrity to bring awareness to something or do good works for someone who has less, then that's the kind of thing that happens with maturity. Being a father and a husband and all those things come into play.

In general, I always say that I try to be a good dude. That's my whole swagger. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice your time and income for the greater good.

Q: You recently wrapped up work on “;Chicago Pulaski Jones.”; What's that movie about?

A: A lot of these projects are a little smaller, but it's kind of really in the space where Hollywood is right now, to independently produce and then go and find a studio relationship.

“;Chicago Pulaski Jones”; is something we produced with my company, Bird and a Bear, and I was just so involved with putting it together that we thought it was a great opportunity to direct.

That was my first time going into directing. It was fun to be in charge of the cast and lead people in the direction you want to go. I'm really proud of it.

Q: Do you want to do more of that in the future?

A: Oh, definitely. Especially when I look at a lot of the younger talent. Chris Rock and I have talked about this kind of thing, putting pilots together for new, young comedians. I'll really be able to help guide them into what they're trying to accomplish, more so than someone who is more of a technical director and is just calling the shots.

Q: Ever been to Hawaii? What can your fans here expect this weekend?

A: This is my first time coming to perform. I've only been there once, so I'm looking forward to coming back.

It's going to be exciting to perform for a live audience and just enjoy myself on stage. I'll sing a little bit, dance on stage, and I got a lot of jokes and storytelling.

I've been doing this a long time, and I think people will see that I'm a professional who knows how to put a show together.