HOLLYWOOD — A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the live performance category was unveiled July 19 honoring Cedric the Entertainer for his career as a stand-up comedian.
“I feel very blessed to be recognized in such an iconic manner,” Cedric told City News Service. “I feel like I’m getting roses when I can still smell them.”
Comedian George Lopez and Basketball Hall of Fame member Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined Cedric in speaking in the late-morning ceremony in front of the El Centro apartment complex on Hollywood Boulevard.
Cedric said when he moved to Los Angeles in 1994, he lived in an apartment on Hawthorn Avenue and would walk one block north to Hollywood Boulevard to eat and would see stars, include those honoring Spencer Tracy and Jack Nicholson.
“Coming from St. Louis, it felt so surreal to actually be there walking down that street,” said Cedric, who was born Cedric Antonio Kyles on April 24, 1964, in Jefferson City, Missouri and raised in Caruthersville in southeast Missouri.
Cedric said he began his career as a stand-up comedian after receiving encouragement from comedian Percy Crews.
“Like most people, I’ve always been considered funny,” Cedric said. “He would listen to me and thought I was super funny and one day told me, ‘If anyone can do this, you can.’”
Cedric said Crews helped him write a set, which he first performed in 1987 at an open mic night at the Funny Bone comedy club in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, Missouri, winning $500.
Cedric’s success as a stand-up comedian led to an acting career, which began as a cast member of the 1996-2002 WB comedy “The Steve Harvey Show.” Cedric starred in the 2000 comedy concert film, “The Original Kings of Comedy” with Harvey, D.L. Hughley and the late Bernie Mac.
Cedric said his favorite acting project was the 2002 film comedy “Barbershop.”
“I had a choice between movies and I chose that movie because I really identified with creating the old man character and I knew that that character would probably catapult me into another level because nobody expected me to play the old guy or do what do what I had in mind for him,” Cedric said.
“The fact that it worked so well is one of those things I considered one of the most important aspects of my career.”
Cedric said another highlight of his career was a Bud Light commercial that aired during Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 and was chosen as the game’s best commercial in the annual survey conducted by USA Today.
“I went to them to get some money to go on tour,” Cedric said. “They asked me to do commercials. The next thing you know I won the Super Bowl as the most popular commercial. In those kind of things you feel if I never walked in for something that I wanted I never would have got what I was supposed to get out of it.
“It led to me being in people’s houses on a daily basis, sometimes every two minutes.”
Cedric’s other film credits include the 2007 action film comedy “Code Name: The Cleaner,” the 2005 comedy “The Honeymooners” as bus driver Ralph Kramden, the role made famous by Jackie Gleason, and the drama “First Reformed,” which was released in May.
Cedric supplied voices for the animated film “Madagascar” and its two sequels and “Charlotte’s Web.”
Cedric’s other television credits include starring in the 2012-16 TV Land comedy “The Soul Man,” which he helped create and was among its executive producers, and hosting “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Cedric is a cast member of the Tracy Morgan-starring TBS comedy “The Last O.G.” and will star in the CBS comedy “The Neighborhood,” set to premiere Oct. 1.