Cedric the Entertainer – Taking You Higher is Cedric’s first solo HBO Comedy Special. He made his mark in the biz as a top-notch, critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, and has also appeared in a series of lackluster films like Be Cool and Big Momma’s House. I don’t think many would argue against the assertion that Cedric is at his best on stage, doing stand-up.
For proof, look to this hour-long HBO Special. Cedric the Entertainer lives up to his name in this show, which offers up about four parts stand-up, one part song and dance. Backed by an eight-piece band and a group of scantily clad dancers Cedric calls “the Cedibles,” he opens the show with a high-energy musical number. Turns out, Cedric can actually sing a little bit. He throws in a few jokes during the song, and it sets the flavor of the show to come.
The stand-up parts are the meat of the show, and it’s strength. When it’s just Cedric, a mic and the audience, he’s in his element, riffing on a wide range of topics from sports and political issues to pop culture and gay kangaroos. Well, just one gay kangaroo, but one is definitely enough.
Cedric also throws in a fair number of impressions, covering folks like George W. Bush (“the new president, not the one we like”), James Brown and even a hilarious Serena Williams. These sometimes segue into the musical numbers, as he does with James Brown. The songs are fun overall, and there are just enough of them to kick up and renew the energy without taking away from the stand-up.
I’ve never used this in a review, so I’ll write it here: this show is truly laugh-out-loud funny. There are way more hits than misses, and Cedric’s comedic style keeps the laughs rolling right over any misstep jokes. If you’re looking for a laugh, check this one out.
Cedric the Entertainer – Taking You Higher is presented on a single disc, in 1.78:1 (16:9) widescreen format. It looks just ok, like a decent TV transfer. It’s mostly sharp, but there are sporadic moments of softness throughout. The colours look alright, but with the flashy and brightly clad dancers, and Cedric’s own stylish getup, the colours should be more vibrant.
The menus are very basic, with zero animation or music.
The only audio track offered is English 2.0. Obviously, this one won’t be joining the ranks or your demo discs. There’s no problem hearing everything clearly, and as expected the stand-up sections are exclusively heard from the centre channel. Unfortunately, the musical numbers could be a lot bigger. They do spread to the left and right front channels, but they’re still fairly lackluster.
This disc offers up only one featurette, An Interview with Cedric the Entertainer. It’s basically just a little HBO promo piece, but it runs 10 minutes and it does provide some perspective on Cedric and his comedy special. Essentially, between clips from the show, we learn why Cedric chose to do an old-school, Vegas-style performance with a band and dancers, and we also hear the story behind his “the Entertainer” moniker.
Strangely enough, the picture is quite a bit better on this featurette than it is on the actual feature presentation.
Cedric the Entertainer is a funny guy, and this is certainly an entertaining comedy special. The DVD presentation is just ok, but it doesn’t have any major issues that take away from the show. Like to laugh? Pick this one up.
Special Features List
- An Interview with Cedric the Entertainer, featurette