Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Remembering Bernie Mac (1957-2008)

The very first time I saw Bernie Mac on TV, it was for an ad for some comedy show in Memphis. This was back in the early 90s, when Bernie Mac was on Def Comedy Jam, and he dressed in more "hip-hop" clothing. Even the little snippets they played on the commercial were funny. Months later, he was in House Party 3 and Above the Rim. I always thought he was funny, and maybe a little bit crazy. I was happy when he became a regular on Brandy's show Moesha. I was happy when his character married one of the main characters. Soon after that, however, his character was written out. I always looked forward to his guest appearances. Bernie Mac's segment on The Original Kings of Comedy seemed to finally put him on the map for mainstream audiences. To this day, I still quote that routine. The "milk and cookies, him downstairs" bit is great. If you don't know what I'm talking about, buy the DVD immediately. Ironically, there is also a bit where he is begging America for a TV show. About a year later, The Bernie Mac Show debuted. I enjoyed seeing Bernie as a father figure, and I loved the scenes where he would talk to the audience, addressing them as "America". I also loved his appearances in films such as Bad Santa, Friday, Charlies Angels: Full Throttle,(one of the bright spots of that mess)and the Oceans Eleven franchise. My last memory of Bernie Mac is one that I think captures his personality perfectly. I was an extra on "The Open Road", an indie film starring Justin Timberlake. We were filming in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. Bernie Mac came through the lobby because he was staying there while he was filming "Soul Men". Somebody asked him something and he said, "I ain't gone do sh-t!!" I had my back turned, so I wondered who was this person being loud like that. It couldn't have been an extra talking crazy like that. I slowly turn around, and sure enough, there's Bernie Mac walking through the lobby, being his usual boisterous self. Bernie Mac was what I like to call "good crazy". He will definitely be missed. One of his earliest catchphrases was "Who you wit (with)?" I was always "wit'" Bernie as a fan,and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.


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