Saturday, August 09, 2008

ain't ashamed to tell ya

To say that I was bummed by the death of Bernie Mac would be an extreme understatement. My daughter knows that I am a fan and called to tell me about Bernie's passing. That's how I found out. When I told some co-workers, they hoped that it was some sort of false rumor. A check of the headlines on their cell phones confirmed the sad news.

The first I ever heard of Bernie was when I saw "The Original Kings of Comedy." Two of the film's other stars, Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley had made multiple guest appearances on the Mark & Brian show in the time I worked at KLOS. They were enough of a draw for me to want to see the movie.

My wife and I were just about the only white people in movie theater that day. Harvey, Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer were all funny but Bernie Mac stole the show. I started watching for him in other movies and on TV. A year or so later, I set up a Season Pass on my TiVo when "The Bernie Mac Show" debuted. Since 2000, I've seen at least eight of Bernie's movies, including the underrated "Pride" and "Mr. 3000."

The best remembrance of Bernie that I read today is by Alan Sepinwall in the Newark Star-Ledger. He reprinted his 2002 interview with the comedian. Meanwhile, my friend Bean spotted a mistake that the Chicago Tribune certainly must regret. You can read the corrected version of their obituary online as well as a better article that came later. When it was first posted, they had not yet inserted some anecdotes about Mac's early years:
Life changed dramatically for Mac when he was 32. He won the Miller Lite comedy search that year and that performance took him to the standup stage, which ultimately led to regular performances on popular shows like HBO's "Def Comedy Jam."

In a few short years, he was able to put a stamp on this tell-it-like-it-is brand of comedy that audiences had come to know him for. He was a hit on the stage, delivering sordid tales of his early life growing up on Chicago's South Side. Would be great to get a couple examples here

His work hit home to the African American audience -- his aggressive, brash comedy had a down home feel to it, tackling everything from family life to black romantic relationships -- yet Mac was able to cross it over, connecting with a majority entertainment scene.
The obituaries aren't enough. I'm going to look for some videos and watch Bernie Mac at his best.

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Anonymous Sandy Weaver Carman said...

This is one of those moments in life where you are blind-sided by the loss of a person you might not have known well, but loved anyway. B Mac will be knockin' em dead in heaven...oh, wait...they already are...

Blogger Missy said...

Oh how sad...I was a fan as well, but only in the last year became one. I started watching reruns of the Bernie Mac show with my family. Almost everyday we'd use his phrases like he did-"Jordan", "America", "some bull", and "tonight". He will be missed.

Blogger the_fool_monty said...

America lost two great black men this last weekend, Bernie and Isaac Hayes.


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