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Williams recently told The Morning Hustle radio show that he was “crushed” when he heard his joke used by Cedric The Entertainer as the closer of the Spike Lee-directed comedy film.
“When it initially happened to me it crushed me just because the comedian was already bigger and more famous than me and he took my closing joke and made it his closing joke on Kings Of Comedy,” said Williams. “The reason it hit so bad was that I was in the theater. I paid my money to go see Kings Of Comedy and to see my joke being there and not me was about as disrespectful as it gets in our craft. I really took it personally with Cedric the Entertainer at that time.”
In response, Cedric uploaded an Instagram video June 10, saying he hasn’t stolen Williams’ joke, which was allegedly about white people’s love for space. Atlanta Black Star reports that according to Cedric, the joke Williams claims he stole is over 30 years old, writing in his Instagram caption that the “DNA” of the joke “has roots” and is specifically “tied into so many of my other jokes.”
“I did the Kings of Comedy in 1999. Probably had been doing that joke six [or] seven years before that,” Cedric said in the video. “I don’t even know if Katt was doing comedy then. So again. He’s a talented brother. I have no idea what he’s talking about. I’ve never seen Katt do a space shuttle joke. That may be something that he believes is true. I’ve written a lot of jokes. I’ve had a lot of comedians steal my joke as well. So, I understand he feels slighted by that, but that’s my joke.”
“I’m not getting ready to be in no back and forth about this,” Cedric continued. “…Got a lot of jokes throughout the career. Lot of humor. Lot of doing it on different platforms. So keep rocking, Katt. Do your thing.”
Several of Cedric’s comedian friends, including Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Foxx, and Damon Williams, chimed in his comments section supporting Cedric, with Williams writing he has watched Cedric’s comedy career “since the very beginning.”
“That’s an OLD Ceddy bit,” he wrote, providing further evidence to Cedric’s claim.
Cedric currently stars in CBS’ The Neighborhood, which has recently undergone a showrunner change. Meg DeLoatch, the creator and showrunner of Family Reunion, has taken over for Jim Reynolds, who has been at the center of several race-base complaints from The Neighborhood crew, including two Black writers who have since left the series.