Bernie Mac was money in the 90’s. You could count on him to deliver, whether it was 7 seconds, or 7 minutes. People say “there are no small roles” but he proved it. From “Friday” to “Get on the Bus” he was usually the most memorable part of a film. Whenever I am auditioning to play “thug #2” for a home invasion commercial, I always think about Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie” McCullough from Chicago. “What would bernie do?” He’s an influence to every Chicago comedian who you enjoy today, regardless of race.

Truth be told, he was a star from the moment we first saw him on Def Comedy Jam in 1992, but for whatever reasons, it takes a little bit longer for us with that hue to break through. He didn’t give up, or complain, he just kept being funny.  Even as health issues started to accelerate, he still was showing up to set, finally enjoying all the fruits of over 3o years in the game. I love the example he set. Here’s some homage to the best to ever do it.

(This was supposed to be a top 5 list, but Bernie Mac is just too important for such a small shout out. This
ranking of all his appearances, according to a true motherf****ng fan of his.) 

Kick it!

Smaller role. I dont think he turned down many of these, if any. Even after starring in films. Thats a hustlers ambition.

A small voice over role. He deserved more of these with that voice. Wish he got to kick up his feet and collect checks more.

He did the big shows too
The Wayans’ knew Bernie had “it.” They would work with him plenty more in the future.

The one line wonder. This was post Def Jam, and was probably his first time on screen. Of course he didn’t take it for granted. Introducing the “mac man.”

He nailed it as the homeless guy who is tied to the main characters. If you’re a Black dude, you’ve had to audition as the “homeless guy” before. Its like a rite of passage. He shows dramatic range here, too.

All respect to Jamie Foxx in Ali, but Bernie’s performance needs more love.
(sadly no clip exists)
Martin Lawrence, the guy who introduced us to Bernie Mac, calls him back. This movie sucked, but there was at least one bright spot.

Bobby B, Baby!

This would have been ranked higher, but we could tell Bernie was changing. He still legged out a triple, but in his last time on screen, he was just giving us all he had left. Sam Jackson more than carries the lions share and this was actually a really good movie.

20)  2003 King of the Hill (TV Series) Mack 
Bernie plays a racist dog. Probably have to ask Wyatt Cenac (former writer) if he has a clip somewhere.
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19) 1997 The Wayans Bros. (TV Series) Shank
The Wayans Bros. was one of my favorite shows back in the day, just ask my current roommates. I watch it all the time, and probably know all the lines. In this episode, Bernie plays an ex-con who wets the bed. This was important, because he showed he didn’t have to curse to be hilarious.

What makes a comedian funny, is what happens when you put them next to other funny people. Mac always held his own. Maybe that hurt him, as people were scared he might take their shine. Whats meant for you is for you though.

When they put you in the trailer, it means YOU are selling the movie. Like his gas station business, Bernie was starting to “blow up.”

Im jealous he got to stand next to Halle Berry.

Kick back money! get it, Bernie.

14)  2007 Pride Elston
What I didn’t know about Bernie, was how aware he was. A lot of comedians don’t get credit for being socially conscious, but his performance here, lets us know there was more brewing underneath the punchlines. AND HE WAS STILL FUNNY AS HELL.

Speaking of racism. This was one of Bernie’s first front-of-the-DVD roles as the character originally played by Spencer Tracy. He made me feel like he really wanted to slap Ashton Kutcher at times. Who couldn’t love that?

12) 2003 Bad Santa Gin
John Ritter and Bernie Mac, thats just too much charisma and sauce for one scene. Miss them both.

11)  1996 Moesha (TV Series) Uncle Bernie
If you ever caught his HBO show, or read his book, or watche his daughter’s documentary, you know Bernie loved music. He was also just born to play somebody’s uncle.

OK big time. Not only is he the headliner, but he also has Angela Bassett as his love interest. Keeping it 100, this look should have come ten years earlier, but you know how that shit go. Good news is we get to see him deliver a hall of fame speech like only he can.

One word. “badussy”

Again. It didnt matter who he was standing next to; Carl Reiner, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, he was money. Reiner remarked how Bernie created the “swipe away” move. Killed it in 12 and 13 too.

9)  1999 Life Jangle Leg
For those that are blind and def, sometimes homophobia is heavy in the Black community. I dont think Bernie turned down any roles, but definitely not a role with martin and Eddie Murphy. I don’t think the guy had a hateful bone about homosexuals in his body. He had some funny bones about everybody, and went full devotion for this one. You almost waited for him to ask for “milk and cookies.”

They say “never step in a great mans shoes.” unless you’re a great man yourself. Bernie stepeed in for the character previously done by Bill Murray, and didn’t miss a beat. He was still hungry, and they let that man eat. All Bill Murray could do was ask “who moved my cheese?”

I didnt even know he could do the physical stuff, too. Thankfully, Chris Rock, who plays Mac’s brother in the film, knew Bernie could make slapping the shit out of people a trademark.


Thank God whoever casted this film was a fan of Def comedy Jam.

4) The Original Kings of Comedy (Documentary) Himself
This is Bernie in his prime. He’s out here doing what he does best. Ever since he won the Miller Light comedy competition, people knew the sky was the limit. And he works with classic black dude Spike Lee.

The curl? perfect. So many quotes from this movie that we still use today. “The Lord is my shepherd, he know what I want.”

At the end of Kings of Comedy, Bernie pleads with America to “give him a chance.” Teamed with Ali Leroi, they took their chance and ran with it for 5 seasons. The idea to have him talk directly to us was genius. Of course, many already knew what Bernie was talking about, even if he had to break it down for the other half.

Some people might be mad that this role is this high, but if you walked into any Black comedy club in the last 20 years, you probably saw someone doing an impression of Dollar Bill. Even the resident DJ at Jokes and Notes, owned by a Black woman, Mary Lindsey, was named “Dollar Bill.” Greatness is measured by impact. He gives us a history lesson, as only he can. CHI-TOWN!

1-AAA) Def Comedy Jam (TV Series) Himself (1992)

This performance needs its own grade. A aint high enough. #1 aint high enough. As the legend goes, the guy right before Bernie had BOMBED. So “I aint afraid of you motherfuckas” was improved. How ballsy is that? He TOLD New York what they werent gonna do to him. Thats why hes the best to ever do it.