EXCLUSIVE: REMEMBERING BERNIE MAC

While the weight and resonance of their contributions may occasionally get overlooked, stand-up comedians have played an integral role in shaping the lens we use to view the world. Icons such as Redd Foxx and Bill Cosby and Moms Mabley and Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor and Monique and Chris Rock have used their comedic gifts to provide the types of relatable anecdotes and social commentaries that transcend time and span generations. Their fearlessness allows them to say the things we dare not say aloud, and our laughter comes from the recognition that, while we didn’t articulate it, we’ve had the exact same thought.

No comic better embodied this mindset than Bernie Mac, who used a distinctly hilarious delivery and generous use of colloquialism to muse on “serious” themes such as marriage, child-raising, and even dealing with dysfunctional family members. These qualities helped Mac, who starred on “Def Comedy Jam,” headlined the “Kings of Comedy” tour, and brought his unique brand of comedy to “The Bernie Mac Show” and movies such as “The Player’s Club” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” become a fan favorite and a “comic’s comic.”

Although he passed away in 2008, his legacy lives on in “I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.” --- a documentary featuring clips from Mac’s performances and interviews from family and famous friends such as Chris Rock, Don Cheadle, D.L. Hughley, and Samuel L. Jackson.

[CHECK OUT AN EXCLUSIVE CLIP OF "I AIN'T NEVER SCARED!"]

The DVD, which aired Sunday night on Comedy Central and is set to be released today, also includes rarely-seen clips of Mac’s early performances and manages to show a side of Mac that his fans may not have been privy to.

In an interview with EBONY.com, Rhonda McCullough, Mac’s wife of over 30 years, provides more insight.

“Bernie was ‘What you see is what you get!’ He was always very insightful, and I must say very prophetic.”

McCollough, who serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Bernie Mac Foundation (an organization “dedicated to improving care for sarcoidosis patients”), adds that Mac’s South Side Chicago roots played a huge role in shaping the type of comedian he became. “All of his act was Chicago. He drew from where he came from and how he grew up. I believe that is what made him so funny and so relatable to people.”

Stay tuned to EBONY.com for more details on our upcoming “I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.” DVD giveaway.