Cedric the Entertainer hosts new NBC game show, It's Worth What?, which will debut at 8 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific) on July 12, 2011.
A description from NBC:
If you tune in tonight to TBS for Cedric The Entertainer's Urban Circus, then you'll probably wonder what in the world is going on when Cedric is shooing kids away from a picnic table, only to turn around and find Jerry Seinfeld amble onstage.
Seinfeld, for his part, quips on the special: "I am urban. I was born in Brooklyn." He shares some very old jokes of his, then joins Cedric to re-enact his old bit about driving a space shuttle to the Moon (as pictured above).
What about the rest of the special, you ask?
Just For Laughs Chicago announced late yesterday that Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Peters, Sommore and JB Smoove had joined the lineup for Cedric The Entertainer's upcoming TBS special, Cedric The Entertainer's Urban Circus, which tapes June 18 at the Chicago Theatre and airs June 23 on TBS.
Wait. Seinfeld? Jerry Seinfeld?! That sounds a bit different from Cedric's last televised special, which he did with Shaquille O'Neal. Can you say upgrade? Cedric, who talked to me yesterday about his special and more, laughed it off.
"I don't know man. I don't know if I'd put them in the same category," Cedric said. "Seinfeld will at least talk, that's one thing we can look forward to is him doing words."
Cedric said his special will feature a combination of his stand-up, that of the other performers and more. "I'm doing this narrative of my life with how life is a circus, and how life is all the funny things you see in your life," he said. "I've got a church choir that's going to join me, acrobatics who do stuff on mattresses. I call it ghetto gymnastics." He also does "a step, stomp interlude" that's a tribute to his days in the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. And there also will be pre-taped appearances from Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley, who performed alongside Cedric in the 2000 documentary film, The Original Kings of Comedy.
Can you believe it has been 10 years? How is comedy different now? "We definitely recognize the influence it had on stand-up and live shows. The influence that it added to our careers in all sorts of different ways. We've been able to manipulate it and use it for our growth. After the passing of Bernie (Mac), we didn't know how to approach it (in terms of a reunion)...there's been some talks about how to kick it back off."
What about comedy now for everyone else in the game? "It seemed like 10 years ago, a Bernie Mac, all he had to say was people were scared to give him a TV show, and they gave him one. Nowadays the business is generally slow all around, but definitely for black men and women, and Latinos to break out. There's less of that. Opportunities to be seen in a way to stand out. It'll take people a lot longer to see that new generation of star...that comedian who has a unique voice."
That's strange to think that, since you'd think with YouTube and all of the technology we have, there'd be so many more opportunities for comedians to break out. Or do you think that just makes it tougher for any one person to stand out? "We get information so fast. This whole interview may be on Twitter in 20 minutes. You try to sit back and savor. There's so much information, and people ReTwitter somebody's joke, and then you may think it's their joke. Write your stuff...plagiarism may not even matter anymore...they say it don't matter where I got it from." Of course, this just makes the road a little longer and tougher. "If you haven't been able to make a name for yourself, find an opportunity to get on television and get known, it will take a lot longer to build a career for yourself."
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
Producers of a Broadway revival of Terrance McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," announced that Megan Mullally and Patton Oswalt would take the leading roles when the former Off-Broadway hit from 1991 returns to New York City's bigger stages in April 2010. It's set for a limited engagement to run through June.
Oswalt played drama on the big screen this year in Big Fan, but his Broadway debut in the coming year marks yet another stand-up comedian who will learn the lines for the dramatic stage. Is this a new trend or just something we're only now starting to notice? Who's to say? A quick search of my memory and the Internet turns up at least these precedents of going from stand-up to stage:
Mario Cantone has performed in several Broadway productions since 1995. But it seems as though the connection between stand-up and Broadway began heating up in the past six years, when Eddie Izzard received a Tony Award nomination for starring in the 2003 revival of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg." Since then, musical comedian Stephen Lynch has starred in the stage adaptation of the film, "The Wedding Singer," Bob Saget took a turn as the Man in Chair in 2007's version of "The Drowsy Chaperone," Cedric the Entertainer was part of last year's short-lived revival of "American Buffalo," and of course, the beginning of 2009 saw Will Ferrell romp on Broadway in his one-man show, "You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush." Currently, you can see David Alan Grier in David Mamet's new play, "Race," co-starring with James Spader, Richard Thomas and Kerry Washington.
Who else am I missing from this list? Are comedians finally being taken seriously as stage performers? Discuss.
It seems like only a few days ago that Cedric the Entertainer was celebrating opening night of his Broadway deut in the revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo, which co-stars John Leguizamo and an all-growns-up Haley Joel Osment. But not enough people want to see the trio do Mamet's dialogue justice. Previews began only on Oct. 31, but by Wednesday, the producers had posted a conditional notice closing the show Sunday, Nov. 23...unless ticket sales improve. You can even get a second ticket for a nickel (get it? buffalo nickel?)?! So go on, pay it forward, so to speak.
Cedric the Entertainer talked with me upon the arrival of his latest HBO special, Taking You Higher, which he helped promote with a club tour. He had a brief stint on the small screen a few years ago with his 2002 sketch show, Cedric the Entertainer Presents. He has another TV deal in the works. But first, he has to figure out what kind of show he wants it to be.
“It does make it very hard to think of how do you approach television in an environment like today, where it’s all reality-oriented, and produced reality at that,” he said. “The sitcom has suffered.” Sketch, too. “Even though Chappelle’s Show is very successful, I don’t know if sketch can succeed outside of cable.”
Would there be singing and dancing, staples of his previous big stage productions?
“I love those elements, but I’d want to do it uniquely different…I’d probably step to a different format. I’d try to figure out how to naturally integrate it.” He mentions a previous role. “Like Eddie from Barbershop, where it’s a neat fun character with a unique point of view and I can have fun doing it from week to week.” Or…”I see Flavor Flav is having guests this year. Maybe I’ll just do that!”
Why are you playing clubs instead of theaters?
“Just doing the special, it’s all about developing new material. I have to start working again. (In the clubs), the crowds are tight and intimate and you can have a good time working with them. Even though it is a bigger room, it’s still fun and they’re usually comedy-sophisticated,” he said. “You give away an hour of material for television. So now you have to get back on the bicycle and work away at it!”