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Cedric the Entertainer taking it outside in Las Vegas show

Updated March 3, 2022 - 7:33 am

It seems not to need an explanation, but the comic star gives one anyway.

“Well, you know, my name is Ced, and I kinda consider myself an entertainer. Hey, that ain’t bad, yeah, Cedric the Entertainer,” Cedric the Entertainer said years ago.

The entertainer formerly known as Cedric Antonio Kyles has lived up to the moniker. For more than three decades he’s been a prominent comic figure, having hosted “ComicView” on BET from 1993-’94, and co-starring in the “Def Comedy Jam” lineup in 1995. The Entertainer was also in the cast of “The Steve Harvey Show” on The WB, was among “The Original Kings of Comedy,” and played Eddie Walker in the “Barbershop” film and TV series. He is currently cast in “The Neighborhood” CBS sitcom, filming its fourth season in Orange County.

Cedric returns to stand-up mode Saturday at 8 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.; etix.com) at The Amp at Craig Ranch Regional Park. Tony Rock, who played Uncle Ryan on “Everybody Hates Chris,” is the night’s special guest.

For those uninitiated about Craig Ranch’s entertainment venue (which might be everybody), The Amp is an outdoor theater with a capacity up to 8,000. The venue had previously been operated by the City of North Las Vegas, and now is booked by JABM Enterprises. That company was formed in 2020 headed up by CEO Jayson Sawyer, a former software sales exec out of San Jose. The company was formed in 2020, and also books The Midway in San Francisco.

Cedric is the first star headliner at The Amp. We chatted recently, as the actor was on a break from filming “The Neighborhood”:

Johnny Kats: Las Vegas has been really active with comedy at all levels, even through the pandemic reopening. Is there any idea for you to perform more regularly here?

Cedric the Entertainer: We’ve been in some talks about it. You know, right before COVID, a really fun idea I had was kind of a little more of a variety-comedy show. We had a couple of hotel-casinos we were really negotiating with. It was a little bigger idea than just standup. Also, George Lopez, D.L. Hughley and myself kind of got a Rat Pack energy that we do together, we’ve been on tour with the Comedy Get Down Tour for, like, four years. So we like the idea of doing something like that. … We love touring with each other.

George’s name has come up at The Strat, with his Mexican restaurant in development there.

That conversation came up recently, at The Strat. We shall see. It’s always great to come to town. I love the fact that Vegas gives you so many cool platforms. I love the idea of a residency there.

Let’s talk about this booking at The Amp in North Las Vegas. How did this come about?

I think they started to do things out there when there were still concerns about COVID, to give an opportunity for entertainment. I would usually come in for shows at the Hard Rock Hotel, so this is different for me.

What are your thoughts about being the first comedy headliner at this venue ?

It’s definitely one of those opportunities to experience Vegas in a different kind of way. So, you know, normally you do a show on the Strip, in a casino. But I love the idea of having Las Vegas residents show up.

An outdoor comedy venue is unique in Las Vegas, and it’s a lot different performing comedy outside, isn’t it?

The sound kind of goes up, and it’s not always ideal for comedy to be performed outdoors. It can be a challenge. But if we have the sound done well it can be really great.

Remember your first visit to Las Vegas?

We came out to the old Sands hotel, if I remember right. It was for the “Def Comedy Jam.” I remember that being one of my first experiences in Vegas, where you see the names up in lights. I was in a group, so the group’s name was up there in the marquee and on the billboards. I thought it was great. It was one of those things that we think about, the old way Vegas was built around all the great entertainers, and I really felt a part of that.

How is it for you to develop new material? The world has changed so much over the past few years.

Definitely. It’s still one of those things where you feel like, we all have similar experiences, so the type of observational comedy I do still works. I look forward to the things that I feel like I can share with the audience, experiences that are a little different for all of us but we can still relate to.

Like what we’ve all been through in the pandemic? Everyone knows what that is like, of course.

Yeah, so we’re stuck in the house, we’re trying to get out of the house while wearing a mask, then not wearing a mask. You know, all of the things that kind of go along with being a part of this pandemic. And at the same time, still, you’re a father and you still have got to deal with those kind of core issues that come with living that life. There is a lot of craziness in the world out there. Kanye’s always doing something crazy (laughs) so you’ve got plenty of material out there.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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