From Publishers Weekly
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. (Oct.)Forecast: Mac's audience is primarily urban, working class and minority, and white kids struggling to be hip. They will know Mac from Spike Lee's movie and from Mac's 1995 HBO variety show, Midnight Mac. Mac will make appearances in New York, L.A. and his hometown, Chicago.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Bernie Mac came to prominence in the film The Original Kings of Comedy and has gone on to star in an eponymous TV show. His onscreen character earthy and tough but lovable seems consonant with his comedic self-portrait here. While this is an abridged version of the book, it may be superior. Listeners get the benefit of Mac's delivery, which is often at variance more colloquial and digressive, not to mention profane with the printed text. And while he's not performing before a crowd, he can still generate laughs. "Like a lot of black people, I grew up straight po'," he declares, establishing at the outset that he's old-school and not to be messed with. He tells stories about his upbringing, his drive to succeed, religion, and the importance of self-reliance. He also riffs on sports and on his comedy career. Some of his topics are predictable, drawing on well-worn stereotypes of black and white (and gay) folk, but you can forgive a guy who says, "I grew up hard, so all the money and fame that I've achieved is all gravy." For libraries wherever Kings struck a chord. Norman Oder, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.