This “King of Comedy” has still got it.
Cedric the Entertainer opened the 2021 Emmys Sunday night with a bang — and the help of dozens of A-listers joining him in a happy hip-hop performance.
The ceremony kicked off at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with an opening number of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” that saw many famous faces performing a variety act, including the likes of LL Cool J, Lil Dicky, Rita Wilson and more. Several stars who were seated also helped with the performance including Tracee Ellis Ross, Mandy Moore, Mj Rodriguez and Billy Porter as the crowd stood and danced.
“TV, you got what I need!!” Cedric crooned as his small screen peers sang along in giddy unison.
Gracing the stage, the hat-lovin’ 57-year-old said it wasn’t going to be an “Emmys lite” during his monologue.
“My favorite TV memory is sitting with my grandmother watching our programs together,” the first-time host said in his opening statement.
“The Neighborhood” star and executive producer then passed off the mic to Seth Rogen, the night’s first presenter, who joked about the indoor venue amid the pandemic.
“I went from wiping my groceries to having Paul Bettany sneeze in my face,” Rogen said.
Before Sunday’s show, Cedric, whose real name is Cedric Antonio Kyles, called himself “the Tom Brady” of emcees.
“It’s an honor to be the guy that’s in charge — you know, running the post … I’m the Tom Brady of this joint,” he told People.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t reach out to celeb pals for advice. In fact, he touched base with his close buddy Steve Harvey, who has hosted many a show during his time. “Steve Harvey, my good friend who’s hosted a lot of these ‘big nights,’ he had some great tidbits for me,” Cedric told the Associated Press.
It was no surprise he nailed it, though, since the Missouri native has been in the comedy game since the ’80s, having toured the country with the “Kings of Comedy” — Harvey, D. L. Hughley and Bernie Mac — before his long, successful career on the big and small screens.
“I feel really blessed to have such a long career and one that has mainly just been kind of gradual and steady,” Cedric told the AP. “I laugh a lot on my job. I make people laugh. It’s a good time.”
But for Cedric, hosting the Emmys was close to his heart, since the actor pointed out how TV helped many through rough times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Television got us through this last year,” Cedric told CBSN. “Everybody started binge-watching everything. And it was something we trusted, and so I think that that’s what we should honor this night.”