Cedric the Entertainer

[INTERVIEW] Cedric The Entertainer Talks "The Soul Man"

Our favorite king of comedy tells us about his exciting new TV Land series—premiering tonight and co-starring Niecy Nash—his spin on gay marriage, and how he keeps his funny fresh after over two decades in the game

Geneva S. Thomas

by Geneva S. Thomas, June 20, 2012

Cedric the Entertainer

Photo courtesy of Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MJCI

family, but she wants to remain who she is. Expectations are crossed where the family is able to come together in order to support one another. John Beasley plays my father, and it is his church that I take over. He is very old school, wiping our bible quotes and stories all the time, and comes from a different generation. I have a 16 year-old daughter on the show, and was used to being a rock stars daughter who is also trying to adjust. I have an older brother played by, Wesley Jonathan who sees this as a tax opportunity in order to get me caught up. He wants me to become a huge preacher and have a mega church. My two goals with this show is to one, make this a great show, and two, have people really evaluating what is the line that can be crossed in certain situations.  This makes for really good TV.

EBONY: Do you think that television has evolved into a great way for Black people to be showcased?

CTE: At one point I thought that television was progressing, where there were major figures that were on Black shows. Everyone can go to "The Cosby Show", and not only say that that was a great show, but it was also entertaining. Even the spin-off "A Different World", helped young Black people to look at themselves and realize that they can go to college, and enrollment went up in America. I think that that is important. Shows like "The Wire" made you interested in the characters and watching them develop into whole people. "The Game" as well, in that they push envelops that all happen to us as Black people. Tyler Perry also shapes Black broadcast, in a way that shows that you can shape Black content the way that you want. BET, and CBS buying scripted television and many others are giving the Black audience diverse range of shows that we can watch. I’m excited about my show and the network, TV Land is emerging for Black culture, and I’m trying to bring more of my folks over to the channel.

EBONY: Are you on board with Obama?

CTE: Politics move, as fast as Twitter, and for everyone to think that in four years America was going to be perfect is ridiculous. I met George W. Bush, as then to blame one person for the opportunity is crazy. Obama has done a lot of rights for things that have been done wrong, and I think that he should finish what he started. Obama had to do so much—getting the country together, getting the girls a dog and quitting smoking. That man has a lot going on!

EBONY: What do you think about his advocacy concerning gay marriage?

CTE: It is a big world that we live in, and people have a choice to love who they love. You can’t deny people to have a family and be together. Before I got married, I used to have a girlfriend and a house; she couldn’t sign anything because she was not my wife. What should people do, not be gay, because you—one person— doesn't want them to.

EBONY: Do you have any other future films in the works?

CTE: Yes, I’m working on Grassroots, directed by Jack Gyllenhaal’s dad. I play a serious role. Jason Bigs and Joel David Moore play alongside me. It’s a really cool movie, and it will come out later this year. It is a true story of a politician from Seattle, who was on the city council, and was apart of the grassroots campaign. He created awareness for trains and its destruction of the city. Because he was the only Black person on the council, it became a racial argument and not just about awareness.

EBONY: Are you still doing stand up?

CTE: I still have a couple of shows lined up. I just did Baltimore and Atlantic City. I love stand up and it keeps me grounded, to say the stuff I have been thinking without anyone changing it.

EBONY: Are you working on any more book ideas?

CTE: Since Grown Ass Man, I haven't been writing, but I have great idea in the works. I am producing as my side hustle right now over at Comedy Central. We are really just doing the Black version of a lot of things. It will come out later in the fall. I am also developing another show for Disney Channel.

Geneva S. Thomas is the style and pop culture editor at EBONY.COM, follow her on Twitter @genevasthomas

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