News Article

Stupid Questions

Jesse Jackson. Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr. No one is safe from the merciless wit of ''Barbershop'' rabble-rouser Cedric the Entertainer. With his ''Johnson Family Vacation'' coming to DVD on Aug. 10, EW decided to try the patience of this Original King of Comedy with some royally Stupid Questions.

FACED WITH A TOUGH CROWD, ARE YOU OFTEN TEMPTED TO FALL BACK ON YOUR ''YOU MIGHT BE A REDNECK'' MATERIAL? You know, I've tried that a couple of times. It always kills. And it's so original. That's what's so great about that particular run of jokes.

YOU AND THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY VS. JEFF FOXWORTHY AND HIS ''BLUE COLLAR'' COMICS: WHO'D WIN IN A HEAD-TO-HEAD STEREOTYPE-OFF? I think those guys have got us beat. There's definitely some inbreeding going on over there. There's some Stag beer drinking, flannel wearing, mullet-hairdo having.... I don't think that we all fit the same criteria like those guys. I'm almost sure there were no limos [at that concert]. Just a bunch of F-150s with mud flaps, toolboxes in the back, fishin' rods.

YOU ARE A KING. WHERE IS YOUR COURT? OR SHOULD I SAY, WHERE ART YOUR COURT? My court is actually a run-down tennis court in Watts that I use. Technically, I have a gathering of subjects. But usually no one shows up. I had a jester. But due to the jester union strike, my jester can't work officially as a jester, but more as a jester's assistant. Once the whole reality show thing came in, the jesters got lost in all of that.

WHEN THE FIRST ''BARBERSHOP'' WAS RELEASED, YOU DREW FIRE FOR INSULTING HEROES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE A GUY I CAN CONFIDE IN: I REALLY HATE THURGOOD MARSHALL. Here's the thing: You never know what a guy like that has on under his robes. You never saw his hands. Which concerned me. And why was Thur so good? Just a question.

DID YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME FOR SHOW-BUSINESS PURPOSES? Yes. Because Cedric O'Malley wasn't working in the States. I was born a little Irish boy. My skin tone confused people. My ma would always explain it to me, as a young Irish kid in clogs, that I would be subject to a lot of ridicule if I didn't change the name. The Entertainer was actually my great-grandfather's name.

DO YOU KEEP YOUR ''BARBERSHOP'' HAIRPIECE IN (A) A GLASS CASE FOR EASY DISPLAY, OR (B) A BARBED-WIRE-LINED MAXIMUM-SECURITY PADDOCK FOR SAFE CONTAINMENT? Actually, neither. I keep it in an old bowling bag, with a No. 12 bowling ball sitting on top of it. It does dry out after a while, so I have to go in and spritz it with some Stays-on-Fro or hair spray.

I, MYSELF, AM ONLY A SERF OF COMEDY. AS A KING, CAN YOU KNIGHT ME? I can Suge Knight you. I can beat the s -- - out of you and take all the credit for everything you do, make myself really rich.

WOW. WE'RE BOTH IN DEEP S -- -. Yeah, say you asked Cedric's brother that question.

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S POP CULTURE QUIZ (EW #777)

1. (a) Five, the sixth victim was a dog. (b) $3,000 (c) $10,000 (though total Jaws freaks may recall that he also negotiates a political favor from the mayor, two cases of apricot brandy, and dinner when he gets back); 2. Leonardo DiCaprio; 3. A-4, B-3, C-2, D-1; 4. ''Hot Fun in the Summertime'' by Sly & the Family Stone; 5. I Know What You Did Last Summer; 6. Wayfarers; 7. C, the basement of the Alamo, which was a destination in Pee-wee's Big Adventure; 8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; 9. ''Under the Boardwalk'' and ''Up on the Roof;'' 10. Kerri Strug

Originally posted Aug 13, 2004 Published in issue #778 Aug 13, 2004 Order article reprints