March 2003
Head of State : An Interview with Bernie Mac

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Head of State: An Interview with Bernie Mac

After doing the comedy circuit for many years, Bernie Mac has finally arrived. We had seen him in small roles in films such as Booty Call, The Players Club and ďLifeĒ, but after appearing DEF Comedy JAM, folks started to take notice. He definitely ďblew upĒ the spot in Kings of Comedy and now he has own TV show, The Bernie Mac Show. And to be cast in Oceanís Eleven with a whoís who of todayís leading Hollywood men is a feat itself. Later this year, he will be replacing Bill Murray in role of Bosley in the sequel to Charlieís Angels in Charlieís Angels: Full Throttle. But in the meantime, heís teaming up with Chris Rock in Head of State. In an interview with, Bernie Mac talks about his current projects and his thoughts on being President of the USA.

WM: What are you up to these days?

BM: Iím coming back in May to Washington with my new book itís called Go Ask Your Mother. Itís about my humble beginnings from when I started to where I am now and why I do what I do. The reason I named it Go Ask Your Mother is because my mother and my grandmother are the most significant part of my life. Theyíre the two strongest people I ever had in my life, there wasnít any man.

WM: With your TV show booming, some may call you the ďKing of ComedyĒ. If so, what does that make Chris [Rock]?

BM: You know, Iím not into titles but if I had to give him a title he is one the premier comics out today, if not the best stand-up comic today. Political issues, I think he has the best comedy than any of us. Iím a storyteller, Iím a hands on guy I deal with personal experience, and I try to tap in on everybodyís life. When you talk about style, Chris has more of a universal style. Chris has come into his own because Iíve known Chris for a long time. Iíve seen Chris how heís developed; heís seen how Iíve developed. So I donít think you can put a title on good. The Kings of Comedy thatís a beautiful thing but if Bill Cosby and Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor and George Kirby would have gotten together, we couldnít have even come close to naming it ĎThe Jacks of Comedyí. I will share the stage with that boy [Rock] in a minute, not because heís my buddy but because heís damn good. Now, what he does on a film, you know I tell Chris ĎYou canít act, but you funnier than a motherf----- alrightí.

WM: Are you hoping to duplicate your success on the big-screen, like you have on the small-screen?

BM: You know what I donít think about success, I do from my heart and wherever the ball bounce Iím not responsible. Iím going to give you myself; you ring the bell I bet Iím coming. See I donít do things for title and superficial things. I donít do it for women, I donít do it for money, and I donít do it for cars. I am who you see. I couldnít be a politician, Iím too direct, and Iím too straightforward. Iíve never been in a gang; Iíve never been in a group. I stand on my own; if I donít have Iíll do without. So I ainít looking for titles and trophies and all that kind of stuff, but at the end of the day you all can never say I cheated you or myself and thatís a fact.

WM: What about the idea for the movie?

BM: ďOh, for this one this itís Ali [Leroi] and Chris [Rock], I canít take any credit for something I didnít do.Ē

WM: How do you feel about the idea?

BM: Oh thatís Chris, thatís his style. He and Ali they like to tap in on those types of issues and the way the world is going today it will make him look like a genius. That was just great timing. Everything seems to fit like a perfect glove, the issue that theyíre talking about, the way theyíre dealing with current events and foreign policy in the movie. I give him a B+ for his directorial debut.

WM: Do you get challenged a lot about getting your vision across on your television show?

BM: Fortunately for me I donít. My grandmother always told me how you start is how you finish. Fox has been good with that because they know that Iím going to walk, but now Iím caught. Iíve grown to like 145 people, the writers, the cast and the crew. If it was just me I would do stand-up and do my film, but Big Momma always said finish what you started. The show is in great shape, but television is what is so I gotta stick it out...It's a good show and itís going to get better.

WM: Could you be President?

BM: No, I could not hold political office, Iíll be shot.

WM: Do you see a sequel to this movie?

BM: You know what Chris is probably going to do it depending on how they do and I know heís going to come to me and Iím torn....If they do a sequel I hope they kill me at the beginning of the movie.

WM: Are you going to do ďOceanís TwelveĒ?

BM: ďYeah, thatís another story.... He [Producer Jerry Weistrauf] called me and he said ĎYo Bernie ĎOceanís Twelveí is in the making. Everyoneís coming back; donít make me look for you okay. Clear your schedule in February, be there. Don Cheadle, Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt [Damon] everyoneís coming back, alright. I donít want to talk to your manager; I donít want to talk to your agent. Iím talking to your black a-- personally, now do me a favor and hang up.í So I guess Iím in that one too.Ē

WM: Do you have a preference for stand- up or movies?

BM: ďI love work. Stand-up is what I am, stand-up is what made me. Iím going back on tour next season after I do Mister 3000 in May. When I go back to the show in August next hiatus Iím doing a thirty city tour and Iím ready. Let me tell you, Iím ready. Get your chicken and have a bucket cause you goní throw up.Ē