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Maybe You Never Cry Again

Maybe You Never Cry Again

4.7 11
by Bernie Mac

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By the tender of age of five, Bernie Mac had found his calling:making others laugh. Now this amazing comedian delves deep inside to share the poignant story of his childhood and the people who shaped him into the strong, self-reliant man and ruthlessly funny comedian he is today.

When Bernie was just sixteen, he lost his mother to cancer.

A tough but


By the tender of age of five, Bernie Mac had found his calling:making others laugh. Now this amazing comedian delves deep inside to share the poignant story of his childhood and the people who shaped him into the strong, self-reliant man and ruthlessly funny comedian he is today.

When Bernie was just sixteen, he lost his mother to cancer.

A tough but loving teacher, she showered the unwilling boy with life lessons and "Mac-isms" that would later carry him through many hardships and give him strength during his slow rise to stardom. Maybe You Never Cry Again recounts this ascent in hilarious detail, from eight-year-old Bernie's stand-up comedy performance at a church dinner to open mike nights in Chicago, the jobs he juggled to make ends meet and eventually, his success in entertaining huge audiences on stage, in film, and on television.

Maybe You Never Cry Again is a powerful testamentto how a mother's love makes everything possible.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
The candid memoir delves deeply into his humble beginnings as "Beanie" on Chicago's South Side to his breakthrough as one of the Kings of Comedy and wraps up quickly with his move into TV and movies. — Karen Thomas
Publishers Weekly
Mac's first book, I Ain't Scared of You (2001), was a comedy riff of sorts, covering everything from sex and marriage to professional athletes and religion, interspersing tidbits about Mac's own life. Now the comedian presents an autobiography of sorts, with sprinkles of funny insights on poverty, senior proms and choosing books over drugs. It may be a tad more serious than his first effort, but it entertainingly tells the life story of one of today's top comedians. Mac, who has his own television show and has appeared in movies including Ocean's 11 and Head of State, reports on his life thus far, including his childhood on Chicago's South Side, how he broke into comedy and his wife and family. Like his approach to stand-up-"I don't sit home and polish the material. Talking shit, I call it. And as long as they're laughing, I know I'm on the right track"-Mac's book feels impromptu yet personal. Although it does recycle some material from I Ain't Scared, this is nonetheless an uplifting-and humorous-rags to riches story, told with heart. (On sale Apr. 29) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Maybe You Never Cry Again

Chapter One

My name is Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, but people know me as Bernie Mac.
My mama, God rest her soul — she used to call me Beanie.
Used to say, Don't you worry about Beanie. Beanie gonna be just fine. Beanie gonna surprise everyone.
Woman believed in me. She believed in me long before I believed.
I loved my mama with all my heart.

I was born October 5, 1957, on the South Side of Chicago, in the Woodlawn area, a neighborhood that hasn't changed much in forty-five years. Our house was on 66th and Blackstone, but the city tore it down when the rats took over. We moved to a new place on 69th and Morgan, in Englewood, right above the Burning Bush Baptist Church, a two-story, redbrick building. My grandfather was a deacon at the church, and I think he got a deal on the place. So we packed up: my mother, Mary McCullough; her sister, Evelyn; my older brother, Darryl; my grandparents, Lorraine and Thurman; and little me. Somewhere along the line, maybe during the move to our new digs, we lost Daddy.

We were poor. You know how to tell if a person's poor? You look in the fridge. If there's nothing in there but bologna, you're talkin' serious poor. Mmmm, but that bologna was good! We used to fry it up till a black circle formed at the edges, then roll it like a hot dog and eat it slow, make it last. You'd be chewing with your eyes closed, telling yourself, Never had nothin' taste so good!

Lot of beans in our house, too. Pinto beans. Lima beans. Red beans.

And cereal. Only you'd be eating it with a fork, leave the milk at the bottom for the next guy. Iain't lyin'. You think I'm lyin', you don't know what poor is.

Sundays was different, though. Sundays we had a real dinner. Roast and mashed potatoes and butter rolls and macaroni and cheese and gravy, boatloads of gravy. That was some serious eating. I couldn't wait for Sundays. I lived for Sundays. 'Course, next day we were back to potted meat and beans, with sometimes a neck bone floating around in there if you was lucky.

Here's the thing, though: I didn't think nothin' about ft. I thought we were just like everybody else. I thought life was good. I thought, This is how life is.

I was a big-eyed kid. My eyes were about the size they are now, in that little head of mine-and my eyes are way big, so imagine it: like a pair of flashlights comin' at you through the darkness. Kids called me "tar baby," "spooky juice." I was scary.

"What you looking at?" they'd say.

"I'm looking at you, motherfucker."

Three, four years old, and that was one of the first words I knew: motherfucker.

Grandpa Thurman would slap me up the side of the head and tell me to talk classy. "I won't have none of that intrepidation here, boy! Understand?" He was about five-six, stocky, light-skinned, his hair thin in back and starting to go gray at the temples. "None at all. None. Gonna expedential your ass right the hell up! Hear me? Your ass gettin' expedentialed. "

Motherfucker thought those were real words. And he was always repeating everything three, four times.

"Huh?" I'd say, and I'd look at him like he was an old fool.

He'd slap me up the side of the head again. "Don't talk back to me, boy! I'll abstract you. Man's gotta rederfrine himself to succeed in this here life."

I would go outside in the afternoon, see if anyone my size was around. Maybe kick an old can up and down the sidewalk till the neighbors told us to shut the hell up. That was the neighborhood. Nobody calling out, "Hey, Bern, get your cleats, time for football!" Or, "Wash your hands, boy-piano teacher on her way over!" We didn't have play dates in our neighborhood. We didn't worry about being overscheduled. We learned to entertain ourselves. I used to have long conversations with the living room wall.

"Who you talkin' to, boy?" my grandma asked, shuffling along on those swollen-ass ankles, eyes squintin' and flashin' in that pitch-black face.


"You always underfoot, Bern. Go outside and sit on the stoop."

"I already done that."

"You sassin' me, boy?"

"No, ma'am."

"Wait till your grandpa come home. I'm gonna ten him how sassy you're gettin'. He gonna whup your ass."

In my family,- you learned respect. In my day, the adults were in control. There were rules, and by God, we had to follow them. Every time my mama set down the law, she'd say, "I know you don't like it, Bean, and I know you're mad at me. But life isn't a popularity contest." Good thing, too. Lots of days she would have finished last for damn sure.

Most times, though, she didn't say much; she could stop me with a look. She figured you didn't want to be talkin' to little kids. They're not hearing you. Little kids aren't much smarter than dogs.

When I was about five years old, though, she began to change her ways. She started trying to communicate with me. She'd still give me the look, of course, only she'd add a little philosophy to go with it.

"Talk is cheap, Bern. When you tell me you're going to do something, I expect it to get done. Ain't nobody going to do it for you."

If I got angry, she'd tell me to get over it. "Only person you're hurting is yourself." And if I did something she considered too stupid for words, she'd shake her head and look seriously disappointed. "Act like you got some sense, boy," she'd say. "Maybe one day it'll come true."

It did come true, of course. But it was a long time coming.

I remember the day I started school. Me and the kids in the neighborhood, walking along with our little lunch pails, looking like we was going off to tiny jobs. 'Course, we had our mothers with us. Two blocks was a long way to go.

I was a shy kid. Other kids, they settled right in and made themselves at home. But me, it took a while. I was the kid in the comer, wide-eyed, sayin' nothin', takin' it in. Didn't have much in the way of social skills, I guess.

I'd go home after school and eat potted meat and-weather permittin' — go out front and park my little ass on the stoop. I'd watch the neighbors on their stoops. Watch the cars cruise by. Watch the people in the cars watching me back. Do this till I'm yawnin', then I'd go back inside and pick up where me and the living room wall had left off.

One night, though, I come in and find my mama in front of the TV, cryin'. And you know how it is when you're a little kid: your mama cryin', you gonna be cryin' in a minute.

"What's wrong, Mama?" I ask her.

"Nothing, baby." Maybe You Never Cry Again. Copyright © by Bernie Mac. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Bernie Mac is the star and cocreator of The Bernie Mac Show. He has appeared in Russell Simmons's Def Comedy Jam, HBO's Midnight Mac, The Original Kings of Comedy, Mo' Money, Moesha, Ocean's Eleven, Head of State, and the upcoming Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Mr. 3000. He divides his time between Los Angeles and his hometown of Chicago.

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Maybe You Never Cry Again 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Highly recommended read. Mr. Mac's insight to the events of his life celebrate his upbringing, and his family-gifted life philosophy (Mac-isms) underscore the true meaning of a life well lived. It is heartbreaking his life was too short. The world could use more of his honesty and integrity.
LynnLD More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was like sitting down having an in-depth conversation with Bernie Mac. As a Chicagoan, it was also nostalgic as he talked about his life. I could picture certain corners, neighborhoods and clubs that he frequented. This is an account of how he rose to fame and his struggle was long, hard and very real. He lost his mom at an early age, but her words of wisdom led and sustained him throughout his 50 years of life. He worked as a truck driver, hauled refrigerators, worked in a stock yard and fried fish at Docks for years as he climbed his way up the comedy ladder. His grandmother, grandfather and his wife who was his childhood sweetheart and daughter kept him focused as he relentlessly made it to fame. I miss him,but this book made me feel like he is still here encouraging us and giving us rules to live by through Maybe You Never Cry Again!
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GGeorge-9 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed hearing Bernie read his life story. Hearing his spoken words made his life touch my mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed this rags to riches story and the emmense credit he gives the women in his life for making him the man he is today. I didn't realize the hardships he endured to finally find fame. He and his wife deserve all the success coming to them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bernie¿s life story was funny and the reading is quite interesting. I would highly recommend this story for pleasure because Bernie¿s life exemplifies how in life we should never give up ¿ especially up on our dreams. Good reading for young men!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Bernie Mac and I loved how he put his story together. I did not realize all of the struggles he had to continually make even when his name was known. I, also loved the pictures of him and his family that was placed throughout the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that tells it like it is. He talks about growing up and the importance of being their as a parent. Outstanding.