“I was always considered funny. I went to college and studied, sang.
I really thought I was going to be a singer.
That’s where the ‘Entertainer’ comes from.”
—Cedric, during an interview with Blackfilm.com
(Excerpt from Missouri Legends)
You may not know the name Cedric Kyles, but the odds are you know the stage name of Cedric “The Entertainer.” Cedric has always been a funny guy and was able to turn that great sense of humor into an incredible career. From the stage to the screen, the St. Louis native has certainly put his mark on pop culture.
THE EARLY YEARS
Cedric Kyles was born on April 24, 1964, in Jefferson City. He moved to St. Louis when he was young and spent the rest of his childhood and teenage years there. Even as a child, friends and family say he was funny in practically every situation. He continued his comedic ways in school and was named the Most Popular and Most Humorous student in his class at Berkeley High School.
Kyles put his comedy career on hold after graduation from college at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau as he began a job as an insurance adjuster for State Farm Insurance. He pursued his passion to be on stage on the weekends, performing at comedy clubs throughout the St. Louis area.
RISE TO FAME
Kyles always dreamed of being a performer, not only as a comedian but also as a singer. When he was twenty-six, friends urged him to take the stage at a comedy club where the Johnny Walker National Comedy Contest tryouts were taking place. He won the contest, which earned him a chance to perform in Chicago. There, he won the competition, a little money, and the chance to travel the country doing his act.
His next big break came after being in the right place at the right time, when the right person was there to see his act. Cedric, now known as “The Entertainer,” stopped by a comedy club in Dallas. The headlining act wasn’t very entertaining, so Cedric took the stage on a whim. He was an instant hit with the crowd, which just happened to include comedian Steve Harvey. The two hit it off immediately. When Harvey landed his own TV show, “The Entertainer” was invited along for the ride.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
His pairings with great comedians paved the way for success in the late 1990s. The Steve Harvey Show debuted in 1997, with Cedric Kyles playing Cedric Jackie Robinson. He was a hit on the show and won numerous awards. The next year, Cedric teamed up with big-name comedians Bernie Mac and D. L. Hughley for a comedy tour called The Kings of Comedy. The tour sold out almost every night and took in nearly $40 million over two years.
The exposure of his TV show and the comedy act made him a bankable star in Hollywood. He landed a part in Ride in 1998 and in Big Momma’s House
in 2000. That same year, the movie version of The Kings of Comedy hit theaters, which gave the Missouri native even greater exposure. He followed the success
of these performances with starring roles of his own in Barbershop and Johnson Family Vacation.
Cedric turned his love for entertaining people into a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire. He continues to be one of the highest paid and most in-demand actors in Hollywood. He even set up a foundation to fund scholarships for underprivileged kids in his hometown. His sense of humor and hard work ethic
have allowed him to achieve worldwide fame, but his humble roots and contribution to society prove that “The Entertainer” still knows where he came from.
*Many people first saw Cedric as the “Smooth Dancing Lover” in commercials for Budweiser.
*Cedric won the Richard Pryor Comic of the Year Award from BET in 1994.
*He won four NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on The Steve Harvey Show.
*The premiere for the movie Barbershop was held at the Esquire Theater in Richmond Heights, Missouri.
*His voice can be heard in animated movies Madagascar, Ice Age, Charlotte’s Web, and in TV cartoons The Proud Family and The Boondocks.
Acting Appearances (courtesy Imdb)
The Soul Man (TV series) – Boyce
Grassroots – Richard McIver
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – Maurice (voice)
Hot in Cleveland (TV series) – Reverend Boyce
Larry Crowne – Lamar
Dance Fu – Detective
Caribbean Comedy Classic (TV movie) – Host
Merry Madagascar – Maurice (voice)
All’s Faire in Love – Professor Shockworthy
The Law (TV movie) – Cedric Battiste
Cadillac Records – Willie Dixon
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa – Maurice (voice)
Street Kings – Scribble (as Cedric ‘The Entertainer’ Kyles)
Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins – Clyde (as Cedric ‘The Entertainer’)
Untitled Cedric the Entertainer Project (TV movie) – Preston Stokes
The Boondocks (TV series) – Cousin Jericho
Invasion of the Katrinians – Cousin Jericho (voice)
Talk to Me – ‘Nighthawk’ Bob Terry
Code Name: The Cleaner – Jake Rodgers (as Cedric The Entertainer)
Charlotte’s Web – Golly the Goose (voice)
All of Us (TV series) – Food Critic
Pass the Peas – Food Critic
The Proud Family (TV series) – Bobby Proud
The Honeymooners – Ralph Kramden
Madagascar – Maurice (voice)
Be Cool – Sin LaSalle
I Man of the House – Percy Stevens
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – Constable
MADtv (TV series) – Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
Johnson Family Vacation – Nate Johnson/Uncle Earl
Barbershop 2: Back in Business – Eddie
Intolerable Cruelty – Gus Petch
Serving Sara – Ray Harris
Barbershop – Eddie
Ice Age – Carl (voice)
The Steve Harvey Show (TV series) – Cedric Jackie Robinson / Grandma Puddin’ / Cedric Robinson
Dr. Dolittle 2 – Zoo Bear #1 (voice) (as Cedric ‘The Entertainer’)
Kingdom Come – Rev. Beverly H. Hooker
Cedric the Coach (TV movie) – Cedric Hubbard
Big Momma’s House – Reverend
Ride – Bo