2021 Emmys: Cedric the Entertainer Kicks Things Off With Biz Markie-Themed Opening Monologue

The comedian opened the ceremony in style.

This year's Emmy Awards kicked off in a big way. Host Cedric the Entertainer hit the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to open the show with a musical monologue set to Biz Markie's iconic song, "Just a Friend." Markie died in July. He was 57. 

Cedric wasn't the only one to spit some TV-themed rhymes to the song, however. He also recruited Lil Dickie, Rita Wilson, LL Cool J and more. 

"TV, you got what I need!" the group sang, as seemingly everyone in the audience joined in. 

ET's Matt Cohen spoke with Cedric days before the big event, and the celebrated stand-up comic teased his big opening.

"I wanted to take advantage of some of these big, iconic moments that took place on Television," he shared. "So in a very Forrest Gump way, you'll see that Ced was actually there for the Mike Pence fly situation and I was there when Tom Brady was throwing the trophy."

Cedric also shared a statement when the news was first announced that he was going to host the show, and reflected, "Since I was a little boy huddled up next to my grandmother, television has always been my reliable friend, so it is an enormous honor for me to host this year’s Emmy Awards."

He added, “Throughout the rollercoaster of a year that we have all lived through, television has helped us stay connected as a society like never before. It not only entertained us, but as it always has, it helped to open our eyes, educate us, and hopefully brought about a better understanding of who we are as a people. I can’t wait to take the stage to celebrate all of the great shows and performances that made us laugh, cry, dance and sing over the past year."

And while speaking with ET's Kevin Frazier on the carpet just ahead of the show, Cedric said the opening number -- featuring one of his Neighborhood co-stars -- was sure to be "dope." 

"It's going to be fun, man. We're going super energetic tonight. We're doing a little homage to one of the great hip hop artists," he teased. 

The 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, aired live Sunday, Sept. 19 on CBS and Paramount+. For complete Emmys coverage, stay tuned to ETonline.com.