Cedric the Entertainer has been preparing for his Emmys hosting gig in 2021 while keeping in mind today’s cancel culture.
The multi-hyphenate 57-year-old will serve as emcee for Sunday night’s star-studded show. He alluded in a new interview to the importance of adapting his standup routine to today’s “hypersensitive society.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the executive producer of “Neighborhood” acknowledged that the possibility of the show being canceled over a single joke is not lost on him.
“These days, it’s considered crossing the line, correct? It’s fine to be in the news for a couple of days, but you don’t want to be the guy who ruins someone’s night or moment,” he explained. “At the same time, you must remain true to yourself. As comedians, we teeter on the precipice of ensuring that people are entertained. However, as previously stated, we live in a hypersensitive society. Occasionally, you have no idea where that line is. It changes daily.”
The star continued by explaining why he’s changing his approach and comparing the risk of delivering humor on a national stage these days to that of writing a “English paper.”
“You begin with your joke, then examine the words and consider how you can transform them. Is it proper to say ‘yo mama’ or ‘a mama’? It’s about ensuring that the joke lands in such a way that you convey the message you intended – but without necessarily directing it at anyone in particular.”
On the other hand, the performer, real name Cedric Antonio Kyles, added that it is sometimes more appropriate to be as specific as possible when delivering jokes onstage for a national audience.
“If you absolutely must state something precisely, be even more precise. Make it specific to one person, rather than a general joke. You have to be careful not to make broad statements, or else an entire group of people can jump on Twitter and completely turn your life upside down,” he explained.
The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be hosted for the second time in history by a single African American. According to the outlet, the first was Bryant Gumbel. Cedric called the statistic “ridiculous,” but is entering the show with the hope of not only “evoking change,” but also entertaining viewers.
“The attitude you have to adopt with anything these days is that people have an infinite number of options for how to spend their time,” he explained. “So if you do turn on the Emmys, I have to make you want to stay put.
“I’ve noticed that, because of the platforms I have, this idea of leadership — a lot of people come to me to get things done. I’m not sure when I became an OG godfather, particularly when it comes to Black comedians, but I want to inspire change. I want to see progress in this business. And because I have a voice, I intend to use it to see if I can effect change. I used to think of myself solely as an artist who would perform and then leave.”