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Cedric The Entertainer

Actor and comedian Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles was born on April 24, 1964 in Jefferson City, Missouri to Kittrell Kyles and Rosetta Boyce Kyles. After junior high school, Kyles and his family moved to Berkeley, Missouri, where he graduated from Berkeley High School in 1982. Kyles received his B.A. degree in mass communication from Southeast Missouri State University in 1987, and was hired at State Farm Insurance. He began performing stand-up comedy around the same time, and was a winner of the Miller Lite Comedy Search in 1990.

Kyles first appeared on television in 1992, on the variety show, It’s Showtime at the Apollo. The following year, he served as host of BET’s ComicView, and in 1995, he hosted HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. Kyles started the Cedric the Entertainer Charitable Foundation, Inc. in 1995 with his sister in St. Louis, Missouri. He got his big break on television as Cedric “Jackie” Robinson, a supporting role on The Steve Harvey Show, in 1996. Kyles then toured for two years with his co-star Steve Harvey, and comedians Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley on the highest selling and most popular comedy tour of all time, The Kings of Comedy tour. The tour was filmed by Spike Lee and later made into a film, The Original Kings of Comedy, which grossed $40 million, and catapulted the careers of Kyles and his tour mates.

Kyles made his film debut in 1998 in the movie Ride. He went on to appear in over thirty films, including Big Momma’s House, Ice Age, the Barbershop franchise, the Madagascar franchise, Johnson Family Vacation, The Honeymooners, Code Name: The Cleaner, and the Planes franchise. Kyles also narrated the animated series The Proud Family, starting in 2001. In 2002, he co-founded his own production company, A Bird and A Bear Entertainment. He made his directorial debut in 2010 with the film, Dance Fu. Kyles also hosted the game shows It’s Worth What? and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and received the lead role in a new sitcom in 2012, The Soul Man.

Kyles was recognized by BET in 1994 for his work as host of ComicView with the Richard Pryor Comic of the Year Award. He received four NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his work on The Steve Harvey Show, and another for his voice-acting in The Proud Family. Comedy Central placed Kyles on its “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time” in 2004, and he was selected as lead comedian for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2005. He was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2008.

Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 31, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.192

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/31/2014

Last Name

Kyles

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Antonio

Occupation
Schools

Berkeley High School

Southeast Missouri State University

First Name

Cedric

Birth City, State, Country

Jefferson City

HM ID

KYL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos Islands

Favorite Quote

I Wish A Motherfucker Would.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/24/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Film actor and comedian Cedric The Entertainer (1964 - ) was one of the original Kings of Comedy. He starred in the television sitcom ‘The Steve Harvey Show’ and the ‘Barbershop’ film franchise.

Employment

State Farm Insurance

Black Entertainment Television

Home Box Office

WB Television Network

The Kings of Comedy Tour

Anheuser–Busch InBev

The Disney Channel

A Bird and A Bear Entertainment

Favorite Color

Chocolate Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cedric The Entertainer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his mother's education, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his mother's education, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his neighborhood in Caruthersville, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his mother's social life and career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers changing his name, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls the television programs of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers the crack cocaine epidemic

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers moving to Berkeley, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls lessons from his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls his activities at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers his decision to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about the popular culture of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers changing his name, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his early male role models

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cedric The Entertainer describes the barbershop culture in Berkeley, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his observational skills

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers meeting Eric Rhone

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls choosing a major at Southeast Missouri State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls his start at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his early experiences in entertainment news media

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls his experiences at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers working as an insurance claims adjuster

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers the Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his comedic writing process

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his experiences of heckling

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers joining the Funny Bone comedy club circuit

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls performing at Steve Harvey's comedy club in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his mother's support for his comedy career

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about the black comedy club scene

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers winning the Miller Lite Comedy Search

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls his appearance on 'Showtime at the Apollo'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers becoming the host of 'ComicView' on BET

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about the comedic style of Richard Pryor

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about the Cedric The Entertainer Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers hosting 'Def Comedy Jam'

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Cedric The Entertainer recalls joining the cast of 'The Steve Harvey Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers comedian Robin Harris

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cedric The Entertainer remembers the Kings of Comedy tour

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his roles on 'The Steve Harvey Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cedric The Entertainer talks about his character on 'The Soul Man'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cedric The Entertainer describes his transition from standup comedy to acting

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Cedric The Entertainer remembers working as an insurance claims adjuster
Cedric The Entertainer talks about his roles on 'The Steve Harvey Show'
Transcript
So after Dan Rather takes your job away [at KFVS-TV, Cape Girardeau, Missouri]--$$(Shakes head).$$--so, what was, what was left? What did you decide to do?$$So, I had to go--had, you know I tucked my tail in and I went back to St. Louis [Missouri]. I tried to get into radio, so I you know I tried radio for a while, and I never really got a job. I got like an intern job at--I was trying to remember the call letters. (Pause) It was an intern job, I didn't keep it. And so I eventually got a job selling fax machines, and it was in the new era when fax machines was the hot thing. And I just, you know, I ended up going on that pattern for a while, working at Best Buy [Best Buy Co., Inc.] when they came in selling electronics for the holidays. And then, eventually landed at State Farm where I became a claims adjuster.$$Right. Now, yeah you write about that in your book ['Grown A$$ Man,' Cedric The Entertainer] that you became an expert claims adjuster in terms of dealing with difficult people (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, with difficult black people, right, yeah. I was bilingual, that's what I told them--I spoke regular English and angry Negro (laughter). Because black people would come in there and they would really be--they would have people really scared about their cars, like, just arguing and cussing at the top of their voice about how they--you know, they got a ding on their door and they need a whole new door. You know, "Somebody knocked my bumper out. I--this car is totaled, I need a new one." You know, and be--having everybody all up in arms and people getting scared. And I was like, I just remember a guy coming in, "I'll blow this building up," and everybody was scared. And I said, "Look, black people can't get dynamite. That man ain't going to blow nothing up. Let me go out there and talk to him." (Laughter) So, you know.$$So you were able to keep it real.$$Yeah, just go out there. Keep it real, get people to calm down. Like, "Look, you're not going to get anything this way. Let me see what I can do for you." And so that was one of the reasons I started to be promoted quite a bit at State Farm, is that I had the skillset to be able to just kind of calm people down. But I was a really bad claims adjuster. Like, I just, I was young. I'd, you know, hang out all night and party and then just show up and do work. So, I would have files on my desk. People would be in a rental car for three months messing with me (laughter).$Now back to the show. Now you're, you play a teacher in the show.$$Yeah, the gym coach [Cedric Jackie Robinson].$$Okay, all right. And did you have a--I mean I know the show had writers. But how much influence did you have over the material that was presented on the show?$$Well, we had great writers on the show. But again, because we were standups, I mean it was a lot of trust to both Steve [Steve Harvey] and myself. If we didn't like a joke or we had something better that we wanted to say, well, they gave us the reins to be able to do that. And so, but we had a bunch of really great writers on the show. So it was all about performance and delivery, but I would definitely add a lot of stuff in that, you know, that made the show. That was just--that ended up becoming my brand, like, through most of the projects I do. It was like, just ad lib. Like, "Do this. And now Ced [HistoryMaker Cedric The Entertainer], do your thing."$$Yeah you had two significant co-stars, too.$$Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean Wendy Raquel Robinson and Terri J. Vaughn, who played Lovita Alize [Lovita Alize Jenkins Robinson] on the show. And she was great; and of course, you know, me and Steve. And the cast was just great all around. People loved Merlin Santana. And, there was Romeo [Romeo Santana] and Bullethead [Stanley "Bullethead" Kuznocki]. People loved all the characters.$$Okay, okay. Do you have a favorite moment from the show?$$Seem like--one of my favorite moments from 'The Steve Harvey Show,' I had a couple of them. One was, you know, I introduced the character Grandma Puddin', where I used to be like--this was before Tyler Perry, you know, who did the Madea. But the mean grandmother kind of lady and, she was funny; she hated Steve. That was a fun character to play. But one of my, probably one of my favorite memories on there was--it was a couple. It was the group, the High Tops [Steve Hightower and the High Tops], when we sang 'When the Funk Hits the Fan.' We would have the little outfits on, and Ron Isley [Ronald Isley] was a part of it, and that was fun. So we were this old group, and we would get up and perform. And those would be fun shows where we'd be up dancing and performing. And then one that I remember was doing a dance where I was trying to choreograph the girls. They had, some young girls were there, and I was showing them moves, and I did the difference between Janet Jackson and Britney [Britney Spears]. I was like, told them, "This is Janet," (gesture). And it was the same move, but one was left and one was right. I just remember that I improv-ed it, and it just blew up--like the crowd--and I did it without any of the producers knowing I was going to do it. And that's, and it just killed. And that's one of my favorite moments on the show that I can remember. It was like, I just did it. I just did it, like, I was like, I'm just going to do it right now. And it just worked, and so--and everybody went crazy.