"My granddaddy would get mad at all of us. He couldn't just get mad at one of us. 'Ain't nobody got...
You know what? Go to bed! All y'all, go to bed!'
It'd be like two o'clock in the afternoon. 'Go to bed!'"
Bernie Mac, the royal king of the Original Kings of Comedy, is salty and pissed off. The Chicago-bred performer has issues to get off his chest, and he doesn't mince words when he lets loose. No surprise, his live appearances have earned him a reputation as perhaps the truest voice of modern humor. Now, Mac has captured his comedic genius in print with his hilarious debut book.
Tearing through a wide range of topics with equal parts insight and irreverence, Bernie Mac shares views that may not sit well with everyone -- especially if you're caught in the crosshairs of his rants ("Kids today don't get the kind of injuries we used to get as children -- cut, bruised. Now, these lil' muh'fuckas just continuously get shot"). Still, his way of looking at the world will probably make you think and it's all but guaranteed to make you laugh. Taking on superstar athletes, the movie business, his fellow comedians, his marriage, and his friends and family ("You always knew when your grandmother was at home because her wig was on that little Styrofoam stand"), Mac unleashes side-splitting riffs on sex, religion, hygiene, money, and more.
Nobody is safe; nothing is sacred. Not even Bernie himself. Throughout I Ain't Scared Of You, Mac turns his humor inward, firing off self-deprecating salvos about his golf game, his own personal hypocrisies, even his sexual prowess -- "Women got toys...You can't compete with no dildo."
Mac's insights have earned him critical acclaim and international popularity. Now, I Ain't Scared Of You captures Bernie Mac's humor whole -- unadorned, unpretentious, and unafraid.
Whether he is heir to Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx as his publicists claim may be debatable, but Mac is unquestionably a funny man. He has strong opinions and fires in every direction, revealing nuggets of humanity that make this debut volume, for the most part, a worthwhile read. While Mac has starred in a handful of television shows and movies (most notably Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy), his name remains obscured particularly among white audiences by figures like Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker and the Wayans brothers. Here Mac tackles such well-worn topics as professional athletes, sex, religion, marriage, child-rearing and (of course) flatulence, but his most poignant material stems from his inner-city childhood. He writes of sharing not only bathwater with his siblings but cereal milk, poured from bowl to bowl. He laments the erosion of communal structures, the disappearance of the strong maternal figure, for example ("Your grandmama, now what 34?"). Co-written by journalist Dawsey (Living to Tell About It: Black Men in America Speak Their Piece), this book skillfully captures the rhythm and color of street vernacular. But the structure is loose and jumpy, fattened up with verbal chest puffing and relentless swearing. There are some perhaps overly confessional moments (e.g., physical fights with his wife), but Mac shows on more than one occasion that he can reach deep into the pockets of human distress and bring forth a smile. "That's what inspires my humor," he writes. "I don't want nobody to cry." B & w photos.