Around 8:30am, I got the sad news from Dean Meminger of NY1 News. Bernie Mac had died earlier this morning. I didn’t believe it and at the risk of insulting Dean’s journalistic integrity, I asked him “Are you sure?” Taken in with nothing but pure childlike denial, I kept saying to myself that that couldn’t possibly be true. That news was hard to take. Dead at 50…of pneumonia. Damn! I thought about his wife, the children, and his world of comedians. I sighed a heavy prayer and prepared to send out a Put On BLAST! once I was able to provide a link to the story.
I was a huge fan of the Bernie Mac Show. Bought the season DVD’s and the whole nine. Often times when stand-up comics as raw a Bernie Mac get prime-time sitcoms, the comics morph into watered down versions of their naturally funny selves. Except Bernie. For American “mainstream” television, his show was digestibly raw. The writing was crisp, the momentum was solid, the family was distinctive enough to keep your attention (and they all looked good), and the lessons were packaged right. In mass media, we don’t have enough examples of strong, stable Black men in a father role, telling it like it T-I is. All of that wrapped up in ‘funny’ made for one of the best comedies on television.
And Bernie’s funny was old-school manly, sophisticated, but lurking at the same time. He pulled funny from dark corners and crevices because he said things that you just weren’t supposed to say out loud. That’s why we loved him. That’s why this passing felt unfair. That’s why we’re gonna miss him something awful.
Rest In Peace Bernie Mac…but keep the party going up there. Comedy just won’t be the same without you.