Before we jump into the review, here are a few stats you should know about Cedric the Entertainer's show at Celebrity Theater last night.
- Number of performing comedians: 5 (including host Cedric and Aries Spears, Deray Davis, Tommy Davidson, and Kevin Hart)
- Number of comedians in the audience who didn't perform: 1 (Katt Williams)
- Number of other celebrities in the audience: 3 (including Shaq, Nelly, and Ashanti)
- Number of stretch Hummers spotted in the Celebrity Theatre parking lot in the hour before the show: 5
- Number of chicks spotted who might as well not have been wearing clothes at all: 10+
- Number of fishbowl-sized pimp chalices spotted: 1
- Number of standing ovations: 8+
- Number of Hustle and Flow stars who danced with a black-and-red-spandex-clad group of Pussycat Doll lookalikes: 1 (Elise Neal)
- Number of times Shaq spoke during the event: 0
- Number of times comedians referenced Barack Obama: 7+
- Number of times comedians referenced O.J. Simpson: 4
- Number of times comedians referenced the Rhianna-Chris Brown incident: 5
- Number of times a dude walking by my section "made it rain" by throwing a giant handful of singles into the air: 1
- Number of times audience members got up in enthusiastic support of a joke a comedian told: Too many to count
- Number of times I felt the whitest I've ever felt in my life: Too many to count
There were moments during Saturday night's sold-out Cedric the Entertainer and Shaq All-Star Comedy Jam that I felt like I had stepped into a slightly more modest, much funnier version of the Player's Ball. From the dudes wearing pimp suits to the chicks wearing next to nothing to the guy in the front row drinking some sort of concoction out of his chalise-as-big-as-your-head, it was an event pre-Law & Order: SVU Ice-T would have been proud of.
So while the $60-$150 admission price would have been almost worth it for the people-watching alone, there were also some pretty effing hilarious comedians on hand to show the ballers and their ladies a good time.
Shaq and his tiny wife (at least, she looks tiny next to him) wore what one comedian called a picnic-tablecloth suit and spent the night seated in a VIP-section with some other celebrities, but never got up himself, which was a disappointment (though you could tell it was a thrill for the crowd just to be able to see him up-close off the court).
Cedric proved to be a fine host, doing little bits of his own routine in between the other comedians' performances: "Did you see George W. Bush fly away in his helicopter before the inauguration? He looked like somebody's birthday balloon."
Probably the funniest of the night was MAD TV-alum Aries Spears, who did spot-on impersonations of Snoop Dogg, Denzel Washington, Charles Barkley, Shaq, the cast of the movie 300, LL Cool J, DMX, and Jay-Z. He also gave Nelly some crap when he walked in the middle of his set: "Lemme get those earrings so I can feed Africa, nigga."
He also, like most of the other comedians, talked a lot about out first black president: "I love it when white people ask me who I was voting for. Who the fuck you think I'm voting for? Gary Coleman could have been running and I would have voted for him."
DeRay Davis had the best date idea of the night: "I like girls who like to have fun. I like me and my woman to put on some red shirts, go down to Target and pretend like we work there, and then just treat all the customers who come up asking for help like shit."
It was nice to see Tommy Davidson, who I always thought was hilarious on In Living Color, get a warm reception from the crowd and deliver a solid set, but Kevin Hart, star of that classic of film Soul Plane, probably got the biggest laughs of the night.
He talked a lot about his kids and his wife, and joked about defending his children from other kids who give them crap: "I'm gonna fuck your baby up. I'm gonna wait until you turn around, and then I'm gonna knee your baby right in the back."
Of course, some stuff was more Miller High Life than Courvoisier. I know people were excited to see the show and be in the position to get Shaq Attacked at a moment's notice, but I missed out on hearing the punchline to more than a few jokes because people around me wouldn't shut the hell up. Also, while the Celebrity's in-the-round style was ideal for the event, you missed some of the physical comedy if you were farther back -- the projector screens were basically useless because the house lights were up the whole time. And really, Shaq, I know you're not technically a comedian, but would it have killed you to get up and say a few words (which, at the rate you speak, might have taken a few days, so maybe it was better that way). At the very least, I would have liked to see the comedians give him a little more (good-natured) crap. Have you seen the man try to hit free throws? Sheeeeeeeet.