Maybe you knew him as one of The Original Kings of Comedy, or from the Ocean‘s films, but me, I’ll always remember him best for his Emmy-nominated starring role on The Bernie Mac Show, the Peabody Award winning but otherwise largely-overlooked Fox comedy that ran from 2001-2006.
Based, like so many other sitcoms, on the star’s stand-up routine (which was, in turn, based on Mac’s own life), The Bernie Mac Show nevertheless stood out from the crowd. Mac’s abrasive style of parenting (toned down only slightly from his profanity-laced stand-up) managed to convey both humor and the truest spirit of family values. Though his words were often harsh (his character’s battle cry, “I’m gonna kill me one of them kids” was oft heard), you never doubted his affection for the nieces and nephew he was raising while their mother was on a “state-sponsored vacation” for drug possession.
A single-camera family sitcom (blessedly sans laugh track) that premiered at a time when that wasn’t yet the norm, the show pulled no punches when it came to issues of race, religion and sexuality. But most importantly, it was hi-freaking-larious–due almost entirely to Bernie’s Mac own sharp wit and boundlessly energetic performance.
Below is a definitely Not Safe for Work clip from Mac’s stand up, followed by a family-friendly clip from The Bernie Mac Show. America will miss you, sir.