Northeast Times

His name is his game

Cedric the En­ter­tain­er will per­form at the Trop­ic­ana Show­room in At­lantic City

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Act­or, comedi­an and dir­ect­or Cedric Ant­o­nio Kyles, bet­ter known to audi­ences every­where as Cedric The En­ter­tain­er, will take the stage at The Trop­ic­ana Show­room in At­lantic City on Sat­urday, Ju­ly 7.

Liv­ing up to his name, Cedric, 48, has built a sol­id repu­ta­tion throughout his ca­reer as a cha­ris­mat­ic crowd-pleas­er, and is per­haps best known for his standout roles in such hit films as The Ori­gin­al Kings of Com­edy, Mad­a­gas­car 1 & 2, and oth­ers.

Born in Mis­souri, the son of a school teach­er, he was a mass com­mu­nic­a­tions ma­jor at South­east Mis­souri State Uni­versity. “But I grew up al­ways know­ing I was funny, he said.

In or­der to make a liv­ing, he had to do a lot of oth­er things, in­clud­ing selling fax ma­chines, work­ing as a sub­sti­tute teach­er, and even as a claims ad­juster for an in­sur­ance com­pany.

Still, he ad­ded, his funny bone nev­er left him and one day, while out at a com­edy club with some friends, he was dared to go up on stage and per­form.

“I did,” he re­called, “and the first time I got up on stage, I won $500. That was it. I was hooked and I have nev­er looked back.”

Soon, he got the op­por­tun­ity to tour with Funny Bones, a na­tion­al com­edy club that provided him with a salary good enough to al­low him to be­gin do­ing com­edy full-time. It was while on the com­edy cir­cuit that he ac­quired his now fam­ous monik­er.

“You know, com­edy is all about tim­ing. There’s the open­ing act, who gets about ten minutes on stage. Then there’s the fea­ture act, who gets about thirty minutes. And then comes the head­liner who, gets about an hour. I wanted to be the one who stood out, but I didn’t have a lot of ma­ter­i­al, so I sang songs, did po­etry, painted pic­tures, whatever I could do to be­come ba­sic­ally your all-around en­ter­tain­er,” he ex­plained.

Soon, they were say­ing he was very en­ter­tain­ing, “but the em­cee kept call­ing me a comedi­an,” Cedric con­tin­ued. “I told him not to call me a com­ic but an en­ter­tain­er in­stead, so he star­ted call­ing me ‘Cedric the En­ter­tain­er’ And that’s the name that fi­nally stuck.”

And soon he was liv­ing up to the title, do­ing his first TV ap­pear­ance on It’s Show­time at the Apollo, HBO’s Def Com­edy Jam and BET’s Com­ic View among oth­ers, He was named one of the Grand Prize Win­ners of the Miller Lite Com­edy Search, and in 1994 he also won the Richard Pry­or Com­ic of the Year Award from BET.

Two years later, Cedric moved in­to act­ing, play­ing Steve Har­vey’s friend on the sit­com, The Steve Har­vey Show. Over the years more and more roles came his way, and he ap­peared on Broad­way in the re­viv­al of Amer­ic­an Buf­falo.

His latest ven­ture in com­edy is a new TV Land series titled The Soul Man, a spin-off of Hot in Clev­e­land. De­b­ut­ing just last week, and air­ing on Wed­nes­days at 8 p.m., the show is based on the quirk char­ac­ter Rev­er­ence Boyce “The Voice” Bal­lentine, a former R&B mu­sic star-turned-min­is­ter.

“Pop­u­lar com­ic act­ress Niecy Nash shares the spot­light about this man who goes from singing soul to sav­ing souls,” Cedric said.

And while he seems to have mastered com­edy and act­ing, and surely earned his well-de­served nick­name, Cedric has proved to be tal­en­ted in many oth­er areas as well.

Last year, he gave the term “man of many hats” a new mean­ing when he came out with his own de­sign­er hat line WHO CED. He’s also de­vel­op­ing and pro­du­cing fea­ture films un­der his own pro­duc­tion com­pany, A Bird and a Bear En­ter­tain­ment.

“And I tell you truth­fully,” he con­cluded, “I am en­joy­ing it all.” ••

For show times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 1-800-735-1420.

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