I try to refrain from blogging too much about the passing of entertainers, lest I come off like a buzzard, but Bernie Mac was an inspiration to me and many others and I can't let his loss just pass without mention. He was my favorite living comedian and I'll miss his humor.
I always loved his attitude toward children- a mixture of disdain and violent justice. He reminded me a lot of two other late greats, W.C. Fields and Robin Harris (whose character in House Party was shown to be Bernie Mac's brother in the third installment.)
Just like me, he was raised by a single mother who died when he was sixteen. He then moved to Tampa, just as I did. Unlike me, he started getting small roles in films, beginning with Who's the Man? in 1993. In 2000 he appeared in The Original Kings of Comedy, which I mainly watched for Ced the Entertainer. I ended up being blown away by Bernie Mac, though, literally rolling on the floor with laughter at his routine. Next to D.L. Hughley's familiar, cliched "black people are like this, white people are like that" schtick and Steve Harvey's G-rated advice, Bernie Mac shone (despite being really dark).
In 2001, he got his own show. The Bernie Mac Show, like few other comedies, was fairly unique (for network TV) in that it didn't have a damned laugh track, leaving the viewer to figure out what was funny. Whilst toned down from his stage act, he showed he could still usually be funny even without profanity or punching kids in the throat.
45 years ago today, on August 8, 1963, a band from Portland, Oregon, The Kingsmen, initially released their classic version of "Louie Louie" on Jerden Records. Written by Richard Berry in 1955, it has since been recorded by hundreds of artists, becoming a rock standard, especially for garage bands cranking their amps to 10 in beer soaked clubs and basements everywhere. Richard Berry recorded his version in 1957, and it was released on the Los Angeles based label Flip Records. The original version is sung in a more of a bluesy-calypso style and tells the story of a Jamaican sailor bragging to his pal Louie about his "fine little girl" back on his island home.
The best-known version is of course by The Kingsmen and has always been thought of as being outrageously obscene, describing lascivious acts of extreme perversion in such detail as to warrant an investigation by the FBI-- an investigation that ended without prosecution. Here are the legendary lyrics:
Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go
Fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home
Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, constantly
On that ship, I dream she's there
I smell the rose in her hair.
Okay, let's give it to 'em, right now!
See Jamaica, the moon above
It won't be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I'll never leave again
Condoleeza Rice said, “This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” she said. “Things have changed.” It's sort of funny coming from the people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied their capitals, overthrew their governments and got away with it. But they're not our neighbor so it's ok. So why did the media throw their support behind the breakaway republics of Yugoslavia but not Georgia? Because Georgia is a tool and partner in the US's efforts to expand influence in the area, so they aren't beholden to the same standards as our enemies.