*With his “Hot in Cleveland” spinoff moving forward on TV Land, Cedric the Entertainer took some time out to reflect on his journey thus far, which began with his first big break courtesy of Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons.
“Definitely for me one of the great eras of comedy was those early 90s when Russell brought out ‘Def Comedy Jam,’ said Ced in a recent phone interview of the popular HBO series. “It was an opportunity for the urban comic to find a voice, and a voice that was speaking directly to that core African American audience.”
Ced said the show, which he also hosted for a stint, was not just a highly-rated comedy showcase, but also a pop culture phenomenon that led to sudden fame for most of its participants.
“That’s Russell’s thing, from early on with the innovations of rap music and bringing it out in such a real way with Run DMC and the Beastie Boys and all that,” said Ced. “But you know, we became stars, all of us on the ‘Kings of Comedy’ — me, Bernie Mac, and Steve Harvey, guys like Chris Tucker — you know, you started to see these faces and they popped out on the scene. We all have gone on to have great careers and ‘Def Comedy Jam’ was the catalyst to that for sure.” [Scroll down to watch Ced on “Def Comedy Jam.”]
But, enough of looking back. In the bonus audio below, Ced told us what young comics to look out for as the industry’s next big thing.