Yes, Cedric the Entertainer is going there, on network TV.
The actor and comedian will explore white privilege tonight on the season finale of his CBS sitcom, The Neighborhood.
“This particular episode was my idea,” Cedric told Urban Hollywood 411. “We try not to be preachy with the subject matter, but we do want to be real.”
While ABC’s Black-ish and NBC’s now-canceled The Carmichael Show have examined race, this kind of comedy is edgy for modern-day CBS. Cedric hopes the episode titled “Welcome to the Conversation” will get people talking.
“The conversation is what happens when people in this culture try to act like there’s really not racism anymore or a difference between the cultures, [and] that we’ve all somehow come to be equal,” the comedian said.
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The Hollywood veteran serves as an executive producer and stars on the gentrification comedy as Dave, an opinionated homeowner, who gets a surprise when a (white) guy from the Midwest and his family move into the predominantly black neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Max Greenfield co-stars as Dave, the good-natured transplant, who takes up residence next door. Tichina Arnold, Beth Behrs, Sheaun McKinney, Marcel Spears and Hank Greenspan round out the cast.
The show — which was just renewed for a second season — centers on the two families’ differences. For the Season 1 finale, Cedric wanted to address how people of different races are treated in certain spaces — in this case, a country club.
“We discussed this idea of Calvin taking advantage of Dave’s white privilege and him not liking it,” Cedric said. “We thought that was a more unique approach of talking about the subject matter, where one is aware of it and knows that it exists. The other person thinks that it doesn’t exist.”
Still, he admitted the network series can’t tackle race the same way they would on premium cable.
“We’re not HBO or anything, so we know we don’t have the room to just kind of really push hot buttons, but they [CBS] do want the show to be interesting for America and to have a bit of an edge,” he explained.
The Neighborhood Season 1 finale airs Monday, April 22 at 8/7c on CBS.