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 riff on 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.
“That was truly insane — like listening to music with my mom and she knew all the words to ‘WAP,’ ” Seth Rogen said of the opening act. “There is no way so many of us should be in this little room. They said it was outdoors and it’s not! We’re in a hermetically sealed tent right now … It’s more important that we have three chandeliers than killing Eugene Levy tonight.”
“I went from wiping my groceries to having Paul Bettany sneeze in my face,” Rogen said.
After a few trophies were handed out, Cedric took back the mic to warm up the night with a few jokes, taking on the likes of Nicki Minaj, who was trolled online for her anti-vax commentary, the “Jeopardy!” host fiasco and the royal family.
Pointing out how much talent is in the room, the host quipped: “Lock the doors, we’re not leaving until we find a new host for ‘Jeopardy!’”
“We had to vaxxed to come here,” he said noting the show’s precautions. “I got vaxxed. I did not have a reaction like Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend. I got Pfizer because I’m bougie. Pfizer, that’s the Neiman Marcus of vaccines, Moderna, that’s Macy’s. Johnson & Johnson, that’s TJ Maxx.”
“It’s a celebration here tonight. I like this award show because everybody dresses up like rich folks. It’s not like the Met Gala,” he said of last week’s event that brought out some wild fashion. “Billy Porter you know he gonna come with it. I saw him on the red carpet the one year he was dressed like a chandelier.”
The first-time host also pointed out how much pressure it was to prep for the Emmys.
“It’s a big job it comes with a lot of pressure being black. Black people are like, ‘Yo Ced, you gotta give Martin Lawrence an Emmy man,’” he said.
“The good news, there’s a lot of black people nominated tonight like my dawg Anthony Anderson. It’s his 11th nomination,” he continued, noting he was up against some tough competition like the lauded “Ted Lasso.” “Good luck partner. Look like it’s still hard out here for a pimp.”
“The Brigdertons are another one. Very spicy,” he said of the Netflix hit. “But ain’t no way a black man gonna have that much sex with a white woman in the 1800s. Jamie Foxx couldn’t pull that off as Django — and he was unchained.”
That’s when he started roasting the royal family and Prince Harry renouncing his title.
“‘The Crown,’ another great show,” he said, noting “it’s embarrassing to the real monarchy.”
“[Prince Harry] renounced his thrown quicker than Eddie Murphy did in ‘Coming to America.’”
“Little Archie they need little Archie. I mean Charles can’t dance who else gonna teach them how to TikTok?”
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.”