“Let me explain something to you about the Mac man. I love who I am. I love what I have become. And most of all, I have nothing but respect for those who have followed me. I don’t do things for dollars and cents. I owe my craft to my fans and those who have followed me all of these years. See. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. I’m a comedian. People know me as Bernie Mac.”
That quote opens the documentary, “I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac,” which premieres tonight on Comedy Central.
Mac died at the age of 50 in 2008 of complications from pneumonia, the first of too many comedians to leave us while still in their prime. His wife (and high-school sweetheart), Rhonda McCullough, and daughter Je’niece conduct interviews with stars such as Samuel L. Jackson, Carl Reiner and several other big-name comedians and celebrities. Other Ocean’s movie colleagues Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and director Steven Soderbergh offer up plenty of compliments about Mac, as do his “Original Kings of Comedy” tour mates Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley, plus Anthony Anderson, Bill Bellamy, Cameron Diaz, Tom Arnold, Chris Rock, Zoe Saldana, Angela Bassett, Mike Epps, and somehow, there’s also narration from the late Bernie Mac himself.
You’ll see rare footage that dates back to his start in 1977 and includes Mac hosting a Tuesday night show in Chicago before he was famous that saw Shaquille O’Neal in the front row.
The documentary tribute’s title, of course, comes from Mac’s big break on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, in which he told the audience, “I ain’t scared of you motherfuckers.” You’ll find out why he said that and more watching this film.
If you didn’t already appreciate Mac’s contributions to stand-up, TV and film, you certainly will after watching this loving, sincere tribute to a loving, sincere comedian.
Here’s a clip. Roll it.
“I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac” debuts on COMEDY CENTRAL Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. If you miss it then, it’ll replay at 1:15 a.m. Eastern/Pacific on Sunday, Feb. 26.