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Cedric the Entertainer is a comedian and actor known for roles in Barbershop and The Original Kings of Comedy.
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he won BET's Richard Pryor Comic of the Year Award. He landed his first acting role on The Steve Harvey Show in 1996 and was featured in Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy. He has also appeared in the children’s movies Ice Age and Madagascar and in the Barbershop films.
Comedian, actor. Cedric Antonio Kyles was born April 24, 1964, in Jefferson City, Missouri. He grew up with his father, Kitrell, his mother, Rosetta, and his sister, Sharita. Although Kyles was voted "most humorous" and "most popular" in high school, he wasn't focused on comedy when he was a student. He once told Reel Images Magazine, "I wasn't the class clown. My mom taught at the school district where I was being educated, so they weren't going to allow for no class clown! She would have clowned me!"
In 1987, Kyles earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. He took a job at State Farm working on insurance claims; almost immediately after, he let a friend convince him to participate in a comedy competition in St. Louis. Kyles didn't just do well—he won the whole thing. He held onto his job at State Farm for three years, all the while making comedy a bigger part of his life.
Kyles' famous moniker, Cedric the Entertainer, was developed by chance. (A previous contender for that role had been "Cheerio.") In order to fill up the time slots he was hired for, Kyles would sing songs, recite poetry and do anything else he could think of to supplement his lean but highly popular comedy material. After telling the host at one venue to introduce him as an entertainer, not a comedian, he was introduced as "Cedric the Entertainer"—and he thought, "There it is, right there. I'll take that one."
Working his way up from local comedy clubs to national television, Cedric appeared on It's Showtime at the Apollo in 1992, and shortly after on Def Comedy Jam as well. He was soon hosting Comicview, a popular series on the BET network. In 1994, Kyles won BET's Richard Pryor Comic of the Year Award. He landed his first acting role on The Steve Harvey Show in 1996. He played the part of a physical education instructor named Cedric, the best friend of Steve Harvey's character. Cedric's work on the show earned him four NAACP Image Awards, but the accolades didn't stop there. He won another for his voice-acting on The Proud Family and was nominated for the films Barbershop (2002) and Cadillac Records (2008). His five wins in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category remain an Image Awards record.
Cedric's comedy style is often described as clean, or inclusive, but he maintains that he doesn't shy away from swearing or being abrasive on principle—it's just not his personal style. Along with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer was featured in Spike Lee's 2000 documentary The Original Kings of Comedy.
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From the early comedy of Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby to the contemporary routines of Steve Harvey, Mo'Nique, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle, black comedians have often used their wit to become the voice and face of the African-American experience. These legendary comedians have also set a very high bar—not only for African Americans, but for all comics trying to make it in show business. Learn more about these famous jokesters, from their early days to their comic beginnings, to their side-splitting performances and more.
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