Exclusive: Cedric Yarbrough Talks “The House”

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Exclusive: Cedric Yarbrough Talks “The House”
Posted by Wilson Morales

June 26, 2017

Coming out this week in theaters is the comedy “The House,” starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler.

After Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) lose their daughter Alex’s college fund, they become desperate to earn it back so she can pursue her dream of attending a university. With the help of their neighbor Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), they decide to start an illegal casino in his house.

Andrew Jay Cohen makes his feature film directorial debut with a script was written by Brendan O’Brien and Cohen, whose previous collaborations include the hit comedies “Neighbors” and “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.”

The comedy “The House” also stars Nick Kroll (“Vacation,” TV’s “Kroll Show”), Allison Tolman (TV’s “Fargo”), Michaela Watkins (TV’s “Transparent”), Ryan Simpkins (“Arcadia”), Jessie Ennis (TV’s “Veep” and “Better Call Saul”), Rob Huebel (“Horrible Bosses 2,” TV’s “Transparent”), Cedric Yarbrough (TV’s “Reno 911!”) and Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Town,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Arrival”).

Cedric Yarbrough seen at New Line Cinema Presents “The House” Los Angeles Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, June 26, 2017, in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros./AP Images)

For Yarbrough, who currently stars opposite Minnie Driver in the ABC series “Speechless,” this is another avenue in which he is working alongside a host of comedians. He is best known for the memorable role of Deputy S. Jones on the hit cable series “Reno 911”. The Minneapolis native has also done work on Adult Swim’s Peabody Award-winning series “The Boondocks,” as well as recurring appearances on “The Goldbergs,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” HBO’s “Ballers” and “The Soul Man.” His most recent feature film was “The Boss,” opposite Melissa McCarthy.

Blackfilm.com recently spoke to Yarbrough about his role in The House and working with his comedians.

How did this role come about for you?

Cedric Yarbrough: I was auditioning like all actors in Los Angeles do and this project came up. I’ve worked with Alison Williams, the casting director, a couple of times and this was a great project that I was able to do with Will and Amy. The last one I did under this production company was “The Boss” with Melissa McCarthy. So they had me in mind and when they had me in, they were like, “We already love this guy.” I came in and they liked what I was doing.

How would you describe your character?

Cedric Yarbrough: Reggie Henderson is a stressed out father of many. He’s got a lot of kids. As many parents of stressed out kids do, they like to gamble their money away. He’s a friend of Will and Amy’s characters, the Johansens and Will’s character tells Reggie that they have a little underground casino and to gamble some of your money; and Reggie is more than willing to get away from his kids and to try his luck.

Personally, have you gone to Vegas or gamble your money away to try your luck?

Cedric Yarbrough: I’m not much of a gambling guy but I do like Vegas. I like Vegas for the first 10 minutes. Usually I get out the plane and I’m happy. I’m in Vegas and then I’m like, “Oh no, Vegas.” I can only do two days in Vegas and then I have to get out of there. It’s just a lot for me. Out of towners of course come to Vegas and are still big fans of Reno 911. Some of my weirder encounters happened in Vegas. A lot of times, drunk men in bathrooms, when I’m using the urinal, will call me out like, “oh my God, you’re that dude from Reno 911!” It’s the weirdest thing.

When working alongside Will and Amy, what are you picking up from them and who’s the straight character amongst the three of you?

Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Cedric Yarbrough, Allison Tolman, Ryan Simpkins, Amy Poehler, Producer/Actor Will Ferrell, Director/Writer/Producer Andrew Jay Cohen and Andrea Savage seen at New Line Cinema Presents “The House” Los Angeles Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, June 26, 2017, in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros./AP Images)

Cedric Yarbrough: What’s great about this film is that this cast is like The Big Chill of comedies. It’s got so many funny people in it. It has Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Savage, and Lennon Parham in it and these people are really funny and fantastic improvisers. As you know, Reno 911 was an improvised show. It’s a free for all. No one is the straight person. Everyone is joking. Everyone is funny. Everyone is hilarious. Everyone is ready to give up the rock when you get the rock, and ready to pass it on. It’s an all-star game. It was such a fun shoot to do. It’s shameful that we got paid because we just really had a great time being around each other.

When you’re working with this amount of comedians, how do the lines of delivery get balanced out?

Cedric Yarbrough: Well, first and foremost, Will and Amy are the stars of the film. There’s no mistaking that, but these guys are so generous and sweet, they’re just good human beings. They are fun people to be around with. There’s no ego involved. I’ve been very fortunate to do really great projects and the more top of the line projects, the sweeter the people. They are better, more fun, more professional and there’s a reason why they have been around for so long because they are fun to work with and they are always on top of their game.

Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll and Cedric Yarbrough seen at New Line Cinema Presents “The House” Los Angeles Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, June 26, 2017, in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros./AP Images)

It was such a fun place to work with and also our director Andrew Cohen made it such a great atmosphere to throw ideas. There was a time in my career where throwing ideas were frowned upon. Because you’re an improviser they don’t want to hear from you. Just because you’re an improviser doesn’t mean that you know how to write and nothing can be further from the case. You actually do know how to write. A lot of times those guys don’t want to hear your ideas. This was not that. They were happy to hear any and all ideas and I think you will see that reflected in the film.

Having had a steady career in film and TV, what goes into the projects that you take?

Cedric Yarbrough: I’m very particular with what I choose. I really try to pick very funny projects or projects that people are going to really enjoy. When folks look at my filmography or any clip I’m in, I’d like to think that they will want to see me in projects because they know I do good work. “I loved in Reno 911, I loved him in The Boondocks. I loved him in The 40-Year Old Virgin. I love his new show Speechless. I want to support him because he always does good projects.”

What’s a good reason to see The House?

Cedric Yarbrough: In the back of all of our minds, we all want to get rich quick. I don’t think there is anyone that wouldn’t mind getting some money fast. An underground casino where a bunch of your neighbors all go to gamble. Would that actually work? It does actually have your favorite funny people in it.


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