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Old 11-01-2016, 04:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
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Default Cedric Yarbrough on Speechless, Reno 911!, and getting a Jheri curl for The Goldbergs

The actor: When Cedric Yarbrough first arrived in Los Angeles from Minneapolis, he started out on the standard path that most actors travel and happily took whatever one-off roles on TV he could secure. He soon became a recognizable presence on the small screen thanks to his role as Deputy Jones on Comedy Central’s Reno 911! Since then, Yarbrough has been up and down the TV dial, popping up in series like Arrested Development, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and The Goldbergs while also adding to his filmography with appearances in Meet The Fockers, Black Dynamite, The Boss, and many others. Currently, Yarbrough can be seen in his highest-profile series-regular role since his Reno 911! days, starring alongside Minnie Driver in ABC’s Speechless.

Speechless (2016)—“Kenneth”

Cedric Yarbrough: I read the pilot, and I thought it was really, really interesting. It’s something that I’d never seen before, and I thought, “If this could actually get on the air, it could be really, really cool.” I was also up for another role, but I really wanted this one, so we went gung-ho for this puppy. [Laughs.]

The A.V. Club: How would you describe Kenneth?

CY: Kenneth is a nurturing, heartwarming guy who will stick up for people that he feels that need it, including himself. He doesn’t mind getting in the muck. But he doesn’t heighten situations. He likes to defuse them. But he still will defend himself. Maya, Minnie’s [Driver] character in the show, she’s a fireball. But Kenneth isn’t afraid of that. He won’t go to the way that she’ll see a situation, but he doesn’t mind. Sometimes it pisses people off when you’re not being as angry as they are, and that defuses the situation, or it makes you feel a little bit better because you didn’t stoop to a certain way. And I think that’s how Kenneth’s character is: He chooses his battles, but he doesn’t mind battling.

AVC: How is it working with your young co-star, Micah Fowler, who plays J.J.?

CY: Micah is an amazing guy… I think America’s just going to fall in love with him. He’s a great little actor. And to have someone like that to be able to bounce ideas off of and act with, it’s going to be fun for me. I always like working with people that I actually enjoy working with. It’s such a chore when you start to work with people that you don’t really like.

AVC: That extends beyond acting, let me assure you.

CY: Definitely! But when you have a genuine affection for someone and you have a genuine, real like for them, it helps. Especially with this character, where Kenneth has no idea how to be an aid to anyone! But his heart is in the right place. He really likes that kid. You know, he’ll stick up for him. There are a couple of situations where he says, “You know what? If I was in that situation, you’d do the same for me. I know you would. So I’m going to do it for you.” And there’s a genuine trust and a genuine appreciation for each other that I think—I hope!—comes out and that you can feel. Not just between myself and him, but that it comes through the camera and that you guys will be able to feel it as well.
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