Six years before his tragic death from pneumonia complications on August 9, 2008, comedian Bernie Mac appeared on "The Oprah Show" to talk about his latest venture, a sitcom called "The Bernie Mac Show" that would go on to crack up audiences for five successful seasons. Already known for his "The Original Kings of Comedy" stand-up routine and film roles like "Ocean's Eleven," Mac was at the height of his career. But in this exclusive after-the-show moment, he gets candid about his success and reveals his true feelings on money and fame.
Growing up poor on Chicago's South Side, Mac says he never cared about being on television. "I never watched what somebody else does," he said. "It does not matter. Bernie Mac gotta do his thang."
He said he simply challenged himself to keep getting better, never motivated by stardom. "To be the best within myself," Mac said of his ultimate goal. "I'm not in competition with anybody... I don't care what people say."
Mac added that the only opinions that mattered were those of his family members, especially his daughter. No matter how dark or edgy he was onstage, Mac always made sure his little girl knew that it was a performance, a persona. "That was more important to me than jokes," he said. "There's a time and place for everything."
From the beginning of his career to the height of his success, Mac didn't doubt his ability to go far in the industry, but he still wanted to be better and better. The money and fame were always secondary.
"I think if you focus on being the best in yourself, all that stuff will come," he said. "I hear people saying, 'Get ya money on, get ya money on.' I hate that. I mean, that's you're motivation? If you do well, the money will come."
"That's what I know," Oprah agreed.
"And quit focusing on the money, because it's not about the money," Mac added. "My love for comedy is just unbelievable."
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