Cedric The Entertainer already has spent a couple of hours on the phone, waking up before dawn, before ringing me up to promote his new Netflix stand-up special, Live from the Ville.
“In between I’ve been teaching Spanish to a bunch of British kids!” Ced joked.
How does he find the time? Or perhaps more appropriately, is this all just in preparation for his body clock to adjust to more guest hosting (or potentially permanently co-hosting) LIVE with Kelly Ripa? “Everybody’s been asking me about that,” he said, adding that he does feel he has good chemistry with Ripa. “I enjoyed going on that show with her. It’s been fun.”
Truth be told, though, Cedric only can talk in the early mornings these days because he’s busy wrapping production on the first season of BET episodes with his colleagues from The Comedy Get Down tour: George Lopez, Eddie Griffin, Charlie Murphy, and Ced’s fellow alum from The Original Kings of Comedy, D.L. Hughley. They’ll finish production on the first season next week, then head back on The Comedy Get Down tour together with weekend arena dates through November.
“It’s really surprising. We knew it was a good idea when we were thinking about it, but the episodes have been coming together really great,” Ced said.
The series likely will fall somewhere between reality and mockumentary.
“We pitched all these different scenarios of what happened on the road. It’s a lot like Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he said. Writers crafted scripts and outlines, but “we had leeway to reenact them” how they saw fit. The camaraderie from the tour has translated easily onscreen, he said.
Making his solo special with the help of the Tennessee State University marching band took more work, as he showed in backstage rehearsal footage that plays over the end credits of his Netflix hour.
“You’re producing it. You’re going in, you’re trying to create a show,” he said. That means playing director, producer, performer and choreographer at times, and sometimes all at once. “It’s an idea you have, and I don’t play the trumpet. In you mind you think you do (laughs). You realize you have to spend a lot of time making sure people understand what you’re saying.”
After all, Entertainer is in his stage name.
“Coming up from that era of comedy when it was about being a showman. Making sure people really got their money’s worth. It’s not just about your Twitter followers. You had to care when people spent money to see you.”
He jokes in his new hour about getting older and how his body reminds him of that. What’s the most recent reminder you’ve felt?
“Just sitting here on this phone!” Ced said. “I been sitting too long. I couldn’t feel my leg. You actually a part of me standing and stretching. I cannot afford to sit this long. I start to drag like Keyser Söze!”
No spoilers. You want to hear Ced’s jokes? Cedric The Entertainer: Live from the Ville premieres Friday on Netflix.