Friends and family of late comedian Bernie Mac, who died on August 9 from complications due to pneumonia, came out to celebrate his life at a memorial service held at Chicago's House of Hope on Saturday. Along with his family, his fellow "Kings of Comedy" — Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley — shared their favorite memories of the 50-year-old.
Although it was a sad occasion, the Chicago Tribune reported that Cedric the Entertainer made sure the event was also as funny as the man himself. "This dude is a very, very popular guy," he told the mourners. "You know y'all were like, 'Let me get four tickets to the funeral!' He's still the hottest ticket in town!"
The Tribune described the four-hour-long memorial service as part comedy show and part church service. A sense of loss was also felt for Isaac Hayes, who passed away the same weekend as Mac and was also remembered in a video tribute for the comedian.
There was no shortage of kind words for the TV and movie star. "Bernie always said that he walked alone. I don't think that he was alone. I think he was walking with Jesus. I'll see you soon, Bernie," Steve Harvey told the crowd, before joking, "Well, I don't want to see you too soon."
Among the 7,000 mourners were other of Mac's Hollywood friends, including his "Soul Men" co-star Samuel L. Jackson, as well as Don Cheadle, Chris Rock, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Reverend Jesse Jackson. Although they weren't in attendance, Oprah Winfrey, "Ocean's Eleven" co-star Andy Garcia and Senator Barack Obama sent their condolences to Mac's wife, Rhonda, and daughter, Je'Niece.
"Michelle and I were so deeply sad to hear about your loss. ... He ... [made] us laugh and laugh hard," read the statement from Obama, whose campaign had recently rebuked Mac for joking about infidelity, menopause and violence at a July fundraiser. But in the statement, Obama admired Mac for saying what others couldn't, adding, "Bernie Mac will be sorely missed."