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Prince on the Hill
Yarbrough is a good conversationalist, roots for the good guy, and enjoys a good laugh. And he knows a thing or two about comedy! Since making his way to LA in 2000, he’s nabbed coveted TV roles in Comedy Centrals’ Reno 911!, Arrested Development, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and The Goldbergs. He’s also made his mark on the big screen in Meet the Fockers, Black Dynamite, and The Boss, plus others. ABILITY caught up with the actor to talk about his path to acting and his current role as kind-hearted Kenneth on ABC’s Speechless, starring Minnie Driver as the mother of a son with cerebral palsy. If you’ve caught the show, you have seen the adventures these characters go on sprinkled with plenty of relatable scenarios!
Reno 911! provided a platform from which Yarbrough could extend his acting career into movies. In 2004 he appeared in the short comedy Broken, directed by Paco Farias, and as a prison guard in Meet the Fockers, the sequel to the 2000 film Meet the Parents, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro. In 2005 Yarbrough's career as a comic actor seemed to be on the rise. Having lived for years in some of Los Angeles' least desirable areas, including Korea Town, he moved to Beverly Hills following the success of Reno 911! But he remained realistic about his career as an actor. His experiences of Hollywood have taught him not to expect it to be easy, as he related in an interview the Department of Theatre and Dance at Minnesota State University: "But if you're not prepared to work and struggle and to be kicked down and to get up only to be kicked down 500 more times, don't come out here. It really isn't for the weak." (Source: biography.jrank.org)
The Boondocks is an American adult animated sitcom created by Aaron McGruder for Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. It is based upon his comic strip of the same name. The series premiered on November 6, 2005. The show begins with a black family, the Freemans, settling into the fictional, friendly and overall white suburb of Woodcrest. The perspective offered by this mixture of cultures, lifestyles, social classes, stereotypes, viewpoints and racialized identities provides for much of the series' satire, comedy, and conflict.
Comedic actor and voiceover artist Cedric Yarbrough hit it big with his role of easygoing Deputy Jones in the Comedy Central hit "Reno 911!" in the early 2000s. Born in Minnesota, Yarbrough got his start in improv at the famed Minneapolis comedy workshop Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop. He came to Los Angeles in the first year of the twenty-first century, ready for comedic fame and fortune. The next few years were filled with one-shot appearances on such shows as "The Parkers" (UPN 1999-2004) and "Arrested Development" (Fox 2003-13), and even smaller roles in films, as he honed his craft and paid his dues. All of that was set to change when "Reno 911!" (Comedy Central 2003-09) was developed by Comedy Central and the show became a hit. The show's improvised scripts and outrageous comedy opened up several doors for Yarbrough, including a small role in the Steve Carell hit "The 40 Year Old Virgin" (2005). He followed this with supporting roles in comic films including Paul Feig's "Unaccompanied Minors" (2006) and Scott Sanders' sendup of blaxploitation films "Black Dynamite" (2009), as well as his co-starring role in the big-screen feature "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007). But it was in television that Cedric made his mark, with his ability to turn his imposing 6'2" physical presence into unique comic roles on series including "The Soul Man" (TV Land 2012-16), "Rake" (Fox 2014) and "The Goldbergs" (ABC 2013- ). He also took on an increasing number of voiceover roles in animated series and video games. He became the voice of Black Lightning and Firestorm in the direct-to-video "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" (2010) and Firepower in the video game "Iron Man 2"(2010). The animation work led to recurring voiceover roles in the animated television series "The Penguins of Madagascar" (Nickelodeon 2009-2012) and "The Boondocks" (Adult Swim 2005-2014). After taking on recurring roles in the '80s-set sitcom "The Goldbergs" (ABC 2013- ) and musical comedy-drama "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (CW 2015- ), Yarbrough returned to prime time on a weekly basis with a starring role in the sitcom "Speechless" (ABC 2016- ) as a school janitor turned therapist for a student with cerebral palsy. (Source: www.rottentomatoes.com)