This holiday season is shaping up to be a busy time for Cedric Kyles, better known to the world as Cedric the Entertainer.
He is looking forward to Christmas with the fam. The husband and father of three has his Los Angeles home decked out: two Christmas trees and lights all over the place, even down the driveway and on the street. He said this light overload is purely the doing of the missus.
"I think my wife has some kind of 'light envy,' and so, therefore, she doesn't let anybody have more lights than us," said the Entertainer in a phone interview. "So, if somebody puts up one extra Christmas light, then we go get six more."
He'll be celebrating Christmas Day with family and friends, in L.A. and, the following day, in St. Louis, about two hours away from his Jefferson City birthplace. But, before he does that, he is putting in a few more stand-up dates before the year is up. At 46, the man still has that yearning to get out there and make people laugh.
"It's really the instant response and gratification that you get from an audience," he said.
It appears the "Def Comedy Jam" and "Comic View" vet is still working to live up to his title as one of "the Original Kings of Comedy." It's a title bestowed on him when he was part of the influential "Kings of Comedy" tour with Steve Harvey (his former co-star on the WB sitcom "The Steve Harvey Show"), D.L. Hughley and the late Bernie Mac, which spawned a memorable Spike Lee-directed concert film in 2000.
Cedric still continues to hustle in Hollywood, pitching ideas like crazy to the TV networks. "ABC just bought a pilot idea of a reality show that I'm doing," he said. "It's a food-based show, where I kind of come in and just redo families' regular meals: Sunday meals, Super Bowl parties, all that kind of stuff. And I come in and remix it with better food."
While those pitches get mulled over by network execs, you'll be able to see Cedric in a couple of films in the coming year. In July, you can see the "Barbershop" star in "Larry Crowne," a comedy-drama directed by Tom Hanks, who plays the down-on-his-luck title character.
"I play his neighbor in the movie," he said. "I'm the guy who's, you know, like that good friend that kind of gives it to you straight and tries to put him back on the right course. So, it's a very cool movie to be a part of, and to work with Tom - he's as cool as he appears to be."
He also went behind the camera for "Chicago Pulaski Jones," a comedy he produced and directed. It stars Kel Mitchell (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a young championship dancer who avenges the death of his uncle. Cedric co-stars as a detective.
"We're going to do this as a small DVD and digital release, mainly," he said. Yeah, it's going straight-to-DVD. But according to the Entertainer, these days, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"How we're trying to do is create this model for independent filmmakers to be able to kind of get their films done for low, economic prices," he said. "And then, at the same time, give it a revenue stream to make money."
Yet even though the man has got his hand in movie and TV projects, stand-up continues to be his first love. It's where he doesn't have to answer to censors or network and studio execs. The only person who edits anything he said is him.
"Stand-up is the only place where it is, you know, my thoughts, my commentary, what it is that I've been thinking about," he said. "And I get to put it right onstage and get an instant response. And, you know, I started my career like that, and it's just something I held on to. Because it keeps you feeling fresh and creative, and I just need it."