Cedric the Entertainer Interview: ‘The Neighborhood’
“We wanted to create a show that looked like the real world that we live in but operate as a situational comedy,” reveals Cedric the Entertainer about “The Neighborhood.” In our recent webchat, he adds, “We tried to not preach on one side but look at anything that’s real in the world. The CBS show centers around gentrification, where the black neighborhood starts to see white families move in. It’s about who belongs there for whatever reason. We tried to approach that with sensitivity to how everyone feels. We are people living in a world that we have to share. Nobody really has their own section. We have to share it and learn to get along.” Watch our full exclusive interview above.
On “The Neighborhood,” Cedric plays family man Calvin Butler, who has to adjust to a white family moving in next door. The actor and producer explains, “My character is the bold one and the most opinionated. I was really taken aback that early on I was considered racist and a hard to like character. It was surprising for me because I’ve been such a lovable character for so long. When people found my character abrasive I thought, ‘that’s interesting when the shoe is on the other foot.’ Basically, we are flipping ‘All in the Family.’ I’m the Archie Bunker character. I’m the protagonist with the hard line in the sand. One of the most enlightening things we had to deal with is getting people to understand my character had the right to feel the way that he does.”
Season 2 of “The Neighborhood” ended with Calvin’s neighbor Dave (Max Greenfield) deciding to run for council. Cedric explains that resonated with him because it explored “the idea that someone can come in and fix things for people when they don’t know the deep rooted systemic problems. I thought we were opening up a big thing. David wanted to run for city council and I didn’t quite believe he understood what was going on. People can come in and be very zealous about fixing things and wanting to change. But if you don’t know the people, then you don’t know where the real root of the problem is. I wish we could really pull that idea out. People feel like they can come in and solve your problems without asking you what the real problem is. “
The past year Cedric also continued playing Mullins in “The Last O.G.” in a guest capacity. The actor says the role was “way more freeing because I’m not the lead character. I’m a character who’s designed to be crazy, over the top and off the cuff. He’s one of my favorite characters to do. I love Mullins. I’ve been great friends with Tracy Morgan for many years. The opportunity to work with a fellow comedian that you love and admire is always fun, and Tiffany Haddish is on the show as well. It’s a character that’s free thinking, believes in himself and is honest to a fault.”