It’s Worth What? is definitely the kind of show that it has elements of things that we’ve seen be it Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal, these kind of shows that where you see things and you’re trying to guess what the right price is. My overall sense of style and humor and a runner up contestant for being sexiest man alive is going to be what’s going to drive this show. I love standup and I really like this opportunity to develop television. I would love that just to be the kind of name that people recognize as good, fun, family entertainment but a good time always. PhD of entertainment. I’m going to get some college to give me an honorary doctorate. I was a big Bob Barker fan. He was smooth and he was cool, and he’s surrounded by the pretty girls always and with the skinny mic. They wouldn’t let me get the skinny mic, so it’s cool. I was going to ice mine up a little bit, give it a little bit of bling. It would have been a little frosty but I didn’t get a chance to do it. I go with a cool lavaliere.
Cedric the Entertainer
Host and Executive Producer Cedric the Entertainer: It’s Worth What?
Actor | comedian | WB sitcom- The Steve Harvey Show | Barbershop | The Original Kings of Comedy
By: Judith Wallace
It’s Worth What is NBC’s new alternative game show that takes a pair of contestants through a series of challenges that escalate in level of difficulty. And they are tasked with discerning the price of the items in each round such as hidden gems in your attic. If successful they can win up to $1 million.
The show premieres on Tuesday, July 19 at 8:00 pm.
Who would you say is the next big thing in comedy for this generation?
Cedric the Entertainer: Kevin Hart is the guy right now, and he’s a super funny young cat. My two protégé’s are great; Malik S and J.J. Williamson out of Atlanta, very funny young guys. And then it’s a lot of cats that have some notoriety but still haven’t had that pop, Earthquake, DeRay Davis. All these guys I think are really talented comedians and should get an opportunity to be seen at some point in time.
What was it like working with Russell Simmons back in the day?
Cedric the Entertainer: One of the great eras of comedy was those early 90s, when Russell brought out Def Comedy Jam. And it was an opportunity for the urban comic to find a voice, and a voice that was one that was speaking directly to that core African American audience. And the show was so popular that it was pop culture. And that’s Russell’s thing from early on with the innovations of rap music and bringing it out in such a real way with Run DMC and the Beastie Boys and all that. When he got into the world of television, to be a part of something like that was just such a cultural phenomenon and then be able to make stars in people who were great at what they did. We became stars, all of us on the Kings of Comedy— Me, Bernie Mac, and Steve Harvey, guys like Chris Tucker. You started to see these faces and they popped out on the scene. And we all have gone on to have great careers and Def Comedy Jam was catalyst to that for sure.
Looking back on the game show hosts in the past, were there any real comedians?
Cedric the Entertainer: Tom Bergeron is a funny. He’s a modern day game show host. But he’s very witty and quick. I’ve had an opportunity to be around him a few times. Gene Rayburn was interesting. But most of the time they almost came off pretty seriously. Monty Hall and Wink Martindale and Bob Barker. You bought them for their sincerity and kind of swag if you will. And so very few of them I thought could probably be funny. But I think nowadays you see a lot more of course with the Howie Mandells and the Jeff Foxworthys and all these guys and they’re hosting shows and Drew Carey. I think it’s leaning more towards keeping the shows funny and moving and keeping that energy up.
Who was your favorite TV Game Show host growing up?
Cedric the Entertainer: I was a big Bob Barker fan. I mean in the Midwest you just loved Bob; he was smooth and he was cool, and he’s surrounded by the pretty girls always and with the skinny mic. In every Game Show host always asks for the skinny mic and of course they wouldn’t let me get the skinny mic, so it’s cool. I was going to ice mine up a little bit, give it a little bit of bling. It would have been a little frosty but I didn’t get a chance to do it. I go with a cool lavaliere. A skinny MIC would have been nice.
Was this hosting gig a dream of yours?
Cedric the Entertainer: Growing up I would say in that real golden area of TV game shows when Let’s Make a Deal, The Price is Right and Match Game and all those kinds of games were really very fun to watch as a kid really would love the idea of being a host on a game show or being a member of the game show of some sort. So this was a great opportunity and something fun for me especially as a live entertainer, a live performer to be able to have that immediate and constant contact with someone who’s playing the game and be the guy that’s in charge, being the kind of ringmaster of the whole thing. And it’s really fun on a show like this because you never know what’s coming out next. And it’s just really exciting. I’m happy that I had this opportunity.
What will you bring as host?
Cedric the Entertainer: Well I it definitely the kind of show that it has elements of things that we’ve seen be it Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal, these kind of shows that where you see things and you’re trying to guess what the right price is. And then I think just really my overall sense of style and humor and a runner up contestant for being sexiest man alive is going to be what’s going to drive this show.
How did your comedic side play into being the host of a show?
Cedric the Entertainer: The opportunity of being a live standup and interacting with a audience like right away we got a live audience in the studio. And you have natural crazy reactions from the contestants when they win or lose. And so I’m able to have some quick responses. And my comedic ability is able to be used right in there to keep the show up and light and funny and keep it moving. I thought that was a unique space for me and I had a good time doing it. It is definitely a different kind of job. Because when you’re hosting a show you have the importance of making sure people are understanding the rules and the game play. At the same time you want to keep the show’s energy up. You do have the contestants who have human reactions especially if they lost or didn’t do as well in the game that they thought they did that you have to kind of keep them up and encouraged and don’t get down in the dumps because you got cameras on you looking at you. People can tell if you just really bombed out. So I think that being a live performer allows me to kind of feel the room, feel what’s going on and know how to respond accordingly in an instance because I had the live performance kind of background.
Which other game show host would you challenge?
Cedric the Entertainer: If I had to challenge a game show host I probably wouldn’t go up against Alex Trebek. I wouldn’t do that. I’d probably would challenge Drew Carey and then we would probably do a moped race. He rides a moped around town. I would cheat. I would have to outdo him in something a little more powerful. That would be fun. I would probably have to come and get some of those Price is Right girls on my show. That’s what I would need, have to give up like three Price is Right girls. See I didn’t get models on my show. I tried. I fought for it hard.
You also worked with Lara Spencer on this project. Why Lara?
Cedric the Entertainer: Lara’s also a co-creator of the show. And so it was a part of her brain child, this idea. And it came from her experiences on Antiques Roadshow and being a real yard-saler. And you knew there was true passion for her. And she’s got great energy and she cared about the show. And so when I got involved to be the host and produce with her. You have more confidence when you know somebody really knows what they’re talking about and that they care about it. And so that just added confidence to knowing that we had a good idea that we could figure out how to make it work.
Tell us a bit about It’s Worth What?
Cedric the Entertainer: Basically the game is played along where you bank your money until the final round. And we’re doing it in six rounds now I believe. And so you play each round and there’s items, “What’s worth more,” put things in order from least expensive to most expensive — those kind of games are going on. And then so you would have the opportunity to build up to $100,000 in your bank if you did everything right. And then in the final round you can win up to ten times the amount that you have in your bank. So the final round of the game is basically played where I give you four, what we call Collectibles, expensive items, I’ll give you four collectibles and then I’ll bring out four collectibles. And what you have to do is match your most expensive over my most expensive. And then you keep doing it all the way down. And then you can pick them one at a time. So say I brought out a – you know, I gave you a diamond ring and I brought out a brand new corvette; you can decide if that diamond ring is more than the corvette or if it’s more than my Persian rug. And then if you pick it over the Persian rug and then you say the diamond ring is more than the Persian rug, and you say that’s the one, you get to win your bank. So win you win, you win $100,000. Now the next time you have to put another one of your items over that corvette. So you say, “What’s – what do I have that costs more than that corvette?” And you keep doing that until you win ten times your amount. So that is – that’s how the game is played. And so you end up having people kind of getting – they’ll, you know, they’ll win they’re bank and they can feel like they can walk away, “I’ve got $100,000 and that’s it, I’m going to take it. And I just can’t risk it,” or you’ll be maybe very confident that all of your items that you’ve chosen are more expensive than mine and you’ll, you know, you’ll have four chances to run the gambit. And so it’s fun; it’s fun to watch people kind of get caught up and not sure if they made the right choices. And I mean we had like, you know Elvis – I think we see that one on the promotion; you see a suit that was – belonged to Elvis and a dress that belonged to Princess Diana. And you’re thinking, “Okay, what’s worth more?” You know, you would assume, “Well she’s a real princess,” but then you’ve got people who are just Elvis fanatics and who knows what they would pay for an Elvis suit that he performed in. So you know, that’s where the – that’s where you start to go, “I’m just not sure,” and you might go, “I can’t risk it. I’m taking my money and I’m going to go home.” One of the real fun games we have on the game is Celebrity Inflation. And Celebrity Inflation is a game that is based off what someone has paid at auction for one of these items that belonged to a celebrity. And so well this is where you kind of come to find out when people have real dedicated fans. We had a toilet that belonged to John Lennon on the show, that I believe sold for like $35,000 to somebody. Like really? John Lennon’s toilet.
What your most memorable moment from the show?
Cedric the Entertainer: We brought out a live elephant in comparing the price of keeping a live elephant versus a elephant-sized diamond. And so I actually fed the elephant an apple. And then I taught the elephant how to Dougie which is a dance.
Were there any funny moments?
Cedric the Entertainer: Of course it’s those kind of historical things that create value that you would never really make maybe for yourself, like a chair that the queen sat in. And it’s like to me it’s an old chair. I’m like okay. I know what would I do with that chair? I’d probably have it in my card room. But it’s worth a half a million dollars and so maybe not. You don’t want to get cigar smoke on that. There was a young guy who married a woman I believe that was like 12 years older than him. But they were a cute couple, they had a really fun relationship. And he was a DJ and she met him at the club and they just got a kick out of each other. They played the game with great energy and I mean it was a lot of dancing and running and I mean it was hilarious. So they were probably the most memorable couple. That one’s going to be a fun one. He had some dance that he would do whenever they were excited around the house. And then if he did it, she was like, “Baby you’ve got to do the dance, you’ve got to do the dance.” And he was like, “I can’t.” And she was like, “If we win this next one you’ve got to promise to do the dance for me.” So they won the next one and he jumped off the stage and started doing a freak daddy dance. I was like, “That’s really personal. You all might want to keep that at home.”
What is the story of the tiger that was brought on stage?
Cedric the Entertainer: They did bring out a tiger, but the tiger was a sweetheart as far as tigers go — just a lovely animal. But the tiger was in a cage and very cool and very chill. And then the contestant, I think she just got a little overwhelmed. Again, it’s one of those things where you get wound up and you’re looking for the right answer and it was she and her son and I just think she just got a little she just wasn’t breathing. It got the best of her. It was a little warm, and so but she was fine. And we were glad everything was okay. So it’d been maybe an opportunity for them to come back on the show if there is a second season, which we would be definitely most excited about.
What would you say is the most important thing you learned from the time you spent on the show?
Cedric the Entertainer: That people who go on game shows are very serious and that the rules of making sure that we followed the compliances. The thing about it is you actually as a host you’re closer to the contestants than anything else. And so you’re really wanting people to weigh in and you’ve just got to make sure that you don’t trigger or give off any kind of signals that leads or misleads the people that are playing the game. And so that was the thing that I probably found that was most important for me was just trying not lead or mislead people because you won’t be able to win. What we learn on this show is that you can have great ideas but you want the live experience to transfer to the people that are watching it on TV. And so that’s usually the big thing about performing live is a lot of times is when you’re there you don’t have people say you had to be there. If you’re trying to get millions of viewers then you have to actually give them that experience because you can’t say oh you had to be there otherwise it would have been so much better. And so those were the real hard things that I felt like I learned as a EPs and on this show is looking at the show and being kind of analyzing it once we’re inside and saying what makes this experience fun for the other people. And so we had to go back and revamp some things and try some things. And we took elements out that show that we thought would make it speedier and more exciting to someone who’s sitting at home watching it, they’d like that kind of live energy where you get to participate and yell and jump up out your seat.
Did you know the cost of anything on the show?
Cedric the Entertainer: I thought I was pretty good but it was definitely times when playing this game that I realized I have no idea what stuff costs. And so that’s what makes the game really fun and fun to watch because we all assume like we have our expertise as be the price of women’s shoes or what houses costs. And you just think that you know this. But it was a game where we had vacation rentals. And nobody knew that the Playboy Suite in Vegas was that expensive per night, like I had no idea. I was just thinking with all those Playboy bunnies in there you probably would have to spend a lot of money.
While hosting the show, did you feel connected to any of the contestants?
Cedric the Entertainer: All the contestants are chosen if they’re going to bring some excitement to the show. You find these really cool combinations, people who’ve been best friends for 40 years and worked together or coworkers. And so you find yourself kind of getting involved. We had some contestants where it was the landlord and tenant in one of her buildings. And their age difference was so fun to watch that you become involved. Because the older lady who had kind of lived life she just was c’est la vie about everything. She’s like oh let’s just do it. And the little young girl was like I need this money. And you could just see their personalities crashing. And it was hilarious. You had to keep everybody understanding that we’re playing a game and let’s keep it cool. But you get involved with the contestants.
Do you think it will be exciting enough for America to tune in and watch?
Cedric the Entertainer: We have some really interesting items. I mean in the description of the show it’s like those hidden gems like all of us hope or think we have when we’re cleaning out grandma’s old chest or something to that nature we think oh man, what if I look up and have a pearl necklace from the Titanic or something. And so and on top of that we mix that in with new modern items like a brand-new Bugatti sports car comes out on stage. And some people who’ve seen it only in a magazine they kind of be so up close and personal to it is exciting. And I think that people would want to watch the show for that reason, just kind of finding out that curiosity of what things cost for real.
After doing this show, did it make you go into your attic or closet to search for gems of your own?
Cedric the Entertainer: I tried to search for a few things. I was telling someone earlier I’d give very little chance to keep anything of value because before I can do my own yard sale or get anything out there, my cousins come through and rip and get my stuff. So if I had anything of value I bet you one of my relatives got it already.
Taraji said that you had a lot of improvisation…
Cedric the Entertainer: I had some good stuff making on the scene, but definitely Taraji and I, we had some moments where we got to improv together and we had some really funny stuff that I guess the story wasn’t about us and it just didn’t make it to the screen. But I would agree that we had some really funny stuff that didn’t make it onto the screen. And it happens. That’s kind of the thing I was saying about standup. The difference between standup and movies and television is, standup you get to get all your stuff off and say it and your audience can respond to it. When you’re in the movies you’re just kind of subject to the timeline, “I’ve got to cut the story, I’ve got to get it out, I’ve got to move the story along, and I’ve got to lose this big joke.” And people never knew it was there. And you’d be like, “Oh wow.”
How do you feel about the unfavorable review of Larry Crown?
Cedric the Entertainer: This is when you pass the buck. That’s when you go, “You know, that was Tom Hanks’ movie. That ain’t got nothing to do with me now.” It’s unfortunate because I actually thought it was a very sweet movie. And it’s a movie of a different time. When you come out against big 3D, DVD, you know a lot of technology in the movie, a lot of special effects, in the summer time that’s what these movies are. And people just may have felt like the movie’s a little sleepy or a little slow for that reason. But I thought it was a great story. I thought it fit what the times were. Those amazing cast, a lot of great actors in there. And we had a ball on the set. And I think Tom Hanks is one of the best people in Hollywood; his personality, his work ethic, his humor. He’s just a great dude. And I wanted the film to do a lot better. But I mean when you come out in the middle of summer against Transformers, what are you going to do?
You are juggling a lot of projects right now. How do you keep up?
Cedric the Entertainer: My main thing is that I really would be very involved with my brand. I’d get involved creatively with the shows. And so the creators, both Lara Spencer and Roy Banks they were passionate about the show early on. And then when they brought me on as a host one of the things was to take advantage not only of just my kind of sense of humor and being a kind of front man for the show but what would make this show comfortable for me? What would be fun about it? Start coming up with ideas and getting involved in it. So and that’s where I put my producer hat on is looking at the shows on overall and not just as an opportunity to either walk out and be entertaining. But what’s going to make the whole show entertaining. And I do that with pretty much everything I get involved in. And so that’s where I kind of put that producer hat on and have those days where I go to work and do the sleeve the rollup and I’m real serious. And then I’m cracking jokes the whole time.
Will you continue your standup gigs?
Cedric the Entertainer: Oh definitely. I’m out touring now. I’m out on the road touring and I love the standup. I love that live audience response. It’s the true place, when you’re a comedian, where you can get that reaction without having writers and executive producers and advertisers and all these things that you’ve got to comply to. When you do a live standup show, it’s your commentary, the things you’ve been thinking about, and that audience’s reaction to it. So I love that energy. I usually stay pretty busy touring throughout the year.
What’s next for you?
Cedric the Entertainer: I’m excited about this show, the premiere of it. And then I have a development deal with TV Land where I’m developing a show where I’m spinning off of Hot in Cleveland. And so we have that and we’re developing this group right now so I’m excited about that as well.