Comedy

Black Comedy Explosion New Year's Eve 2009

When: Thu., Dec. 31, 11 p.m. 2009

Besides his booming persona and showbiz name, the thing that really distinguishes Cedric the Entertainer from other comedians is his mastery of the "tag" form. Whereas many of his contemporaries pace their acts with simple set-ups and punchlines, pause for laughs at timed intervals, then proceed to the next gag, Cedric can drag a joke out forever. He'll start with something from everyday life and bring it to increasingly abstract levels of humor. This practice resulted in a famous bit about rap music, in which Cedric jumps from rapper grills, to the effect of chronic on song tempos, to the evils of Shug Knight ("a new millennium Candy Man"), to the relationship between rap and opera. And just when you think the joke is over, he propels it to new heights, with an "Old MacDonald remix." Not a mack named Donald, but the children's nursery rhyme, sung in perfect Nate Dogg opera voice, over the beat from Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive." There's no telling where he comes up with these things. Cedric the Entertainer stars in this week's Black Comedy Explosion, held New Year's Eve (Thursday, Dec. 31) at the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland). 11 p.m., $45.75-$85.75. ParamountTheatre.com

Rachel Swan

Price: $45.75-$84.75

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