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Emmys 2021 host Cedric the Entertainer talks hesitancy as a comedian due to today’s ‘hypersensitive society’

Cedric the Entertainer has been preparing for his Emmys 2021 hosting gig with today’s cancel culture in mind.

The 57-year-old multi-hyphenate will be the emcee for Sunday night’s star-studded show. In a new interview, he alluded to the importance of changing up his standup routine so that it fares well in today’s “hypersensitive society.”

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Neighborhood” executive producer said the possibility of getting canceled over just one joke is not lost on him.

“Nowadays, it’s crossing the line, right? It’s not bad if you’re the news for a couple of days, but you don’t want to be the guy that ruins the night or someone’s moment,” he said. “At the same time, you’ve got to be yourself. As comedians, we’re up on a tightrope trying to make sure people are entertained. But, again, we’re living in a hypersensitive society. You don’t know where that line is sometimes. It moves from day to day.”

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The 2021 Emmy Awards are being held on Sept. 19 in Los Angeles.
( Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

The star went on to discuss why he’s tweaking his approach and compared the risk of delivering humor on a national stage these days to writing “an English paper.”

“You have your joke, then you look at the words and think about how you can transform them. Should I say ‘yo mama’ or ‘a mama?’ It’s about making sure the joke lands in a way that you say what you wanted to say – but don’t necessarily direct it at anybody specifically.”

On the other hand, the performer, whose real name is Cedric Antonio Kyles, added that sometimes being as specific as possible when delivering jokes onstage for a national audience is more appropriate.

“If you do have to say something specifically, be even more specific. Make it about one person, so it’s not a general joke. You have to be careful that you’re not making general statements or a whole group of people can jump on Twitter and turn your life upside down,” he said.

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Cedric the Entertainer was announced as host of the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards in July.

Cedric the Entertainer was announced as host of the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards in July.
(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be the second time in history that a solo African American will serve as host. The first was Bryant Gumbel, the outlet notes. Cedric called the statistic “ridiculous” but is going into the show with the hope that he will not only “evoke change” but keep viewers entertained, too.

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“The attitude you’ve got to take with anything these days is that people have unlimited choices for what to do with their time,” he said. “So if you do turn on the Emmys, I have to make it so that you’re not going to want to change the channel.

“I noticed, with the platforms that I have, this idea of leadership — a lot of people come to me to try to get things done. I don’t know when I became this kind of OG godfather, especially when it comes to Black comedians, but I want to evoke change. I want things to happen in this business. And I do have a voice, so I will use it to see if I can make a change. I used to just see myself as the artist who’d perform and peace out.”

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The 2021 Emmys will be held in Los Angeles on Sept. 19. This year, a number of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu scored multiple nominations.

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