Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bernie Mac - King Of Black Stand-Up Comedy

The world is a less funnier place with the sudden death of outstanding African-American stand-up comedian Bernie Mac.

Mac died suddenly of pneumonia on August 9, 2008.

The following information about him is courtesy of Wikipedia and Yahoo News.

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008), better known as Bernie Mac, was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago.

Together with fellow comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric The Entertainer and D. L. Hughley, he was part of the comedic troupe The Original Kings Of Comedy.

After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several movies in small roles. His most notable movie role was as Frank Catton in the remake of Ocean's Eleven and its two sequels.

Mac also starred in Charlie’s Angels - Full Throttle and was the star of The Bernie Mac Show , which ran from 2001-2006 and earned two Emmy Award nominations.

Mac was raised by his single mother, Mary who died of cancer when he was 16. He started his comedy career while in high school and put on shows for neighbourhood kids on Chicago's South Side.

While in his 20s he worked in a variety of jobs - furniture-mover, UPS agent and bread delivery man.

Mac started as a stand-up comedian in Chicago. He won the Miller Lite Comedy Search at 32, at which point his popularity as a comedian began to grow.

A performance on HBO's Def Comedy Jam thrust him into the spotlight. He opened for Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.

Mac was one of the few African-American comedic actors to break out of the traditional Black Comedy genre.

He also starred in Guess Who? a comedic remake of the film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. He also made an appearance in the 2007 movie Transformers as the car salesman Bobby Bolivia.

In 2000, Mac returned to his stand-up comedy roots, touring the country as one of The Original Kings Of Comedy. The comedy act was filmed by Spike Lee and was included in the movie The Original Kings Of Comedy.

In 2001, Fox gave Mac his own sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, somewhat based on his own life.

In the show, he suddenly becomes custodian over his sister's three children after she enters rehab.

It was a success, in part because it allowed Mac to stay true to his stand-up comedy roots, breaking the fourth wall to communicate his thoughts to the audience.

The show contained many parodies of events in Mac's actual life.

Mac was Number 72 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups Of All Time.

Mac, a staunch supporter of United States Presidential candidate Barack Obama, married Rhonda McCullough in 1977. They have one daughter, Jeniece (born 1978). She has been married for three years and has a daughter, Jasmine.

Following his death, his Oceans co-star George Clooney remarked: "The world just got a little less funny."

Don Cheadle, another of his Oceans co-stars said: "This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie. He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed, but Heaven just got funnier."