Comedy

No matter the material, Cedric the Entertainer always draws the laughs

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Original king of comedy: As his name implies, dude knows how to entertain.
Edison Graff, Kabik Photo Group
Jason Harris

Three stars

Cedric the Entertainer December 30, the Joint.

One thing is certain, Cedric the Entertainer does his best to entertain. What that means most for the Missouri native is that his array of skills allows him to get away with more than he otherwise could. He doesn’t work edgy or say controversial things. It’s usually the opposite. Cedric Antonio Kyles often takes on subjects that have been explored on the regular—old guys trying to act cool, the graphic lyrics of today’s music, Paula Dean—and somehow continues to generate large amounts of laughter with his takes on them.

Wednesday night at the Joint, when discussing how hip-hop has invaded country music, Cedric sang the lyrics to the Trace Adkins song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and line- danced. No real punchline, but lots of laughs. When focusing on singer Ron Isley’s tax evasion problems—a joke whose shelf-life expired long ago—Cedric sang Akon’s “Locked Up” as Isley alter ego Mr. Biggs (who else is doing a Ron Isley impression?) emoting his legal woes. There’s no reason this should have received the roars that it did, but again, Cedric was able to wring it out.

He did tackle some current events, including the recent Miss Universe flub by his friend and costar of The Original Kings of Comedy, Steve Harvey. On the two finalists: “They were both fine. I figured the one he pointed in his mind was who he picked. ‘The winner is Miss Colombia. I can’t do that? A’ight? Dang. My bad y’all.’” On Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the United States, “A wall? Really, Donald? You ain’t seen El Chapo, ni**a. They’re using tunnels. A goddamn wall ain’t gonna stop nobody. That boy El Chapo got the goddamn Mall of America underground.”

Some of the most well-received stuff from the star of the Barbershop films were his longer chunks on the odd people who populate his life. His friend Willie Earl, who’s too old for Instagram yet still has an account, and whose personalized ringtone is Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” His fast-talking Southern cousins and how he spent a week calling one of their friends by the wrong name because he couldn’t understand him. The strippers he’s seen in Atlanta and Miami whose shake-your-booty style seeps into their everyday lives.

I’m still not sure how funny Cedric the Entertainer is. But if you asked me if I’d go see him again, that’s an easy yes. He’s freakin’ entertaining.

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