Twenty-two years ago, comedians Cedric The Entertainer, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley filmed the classic stand-up, “The Original Kings of Comedy.” The Spike Lee-directed documentary follows the four comedians as they go on tour from state to state, making audiences laugh. Most of the film featured footage from their live show at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a rare time for comedians to sell out the arena with 25,000 seats. Audience members were left in tears after the funny entertainers shared jokes about their lives, family, race and much more with Harvey acting as host. The film did wonders for careers, taking some to new heights and bigger checks.
During an appearance on Shannon Sharpe‘s “Club Shay Shay,” Cedric revealed that he actually closed that show that night and not the late Bernie Mac as shown in the film. The actor said they “made a lot of money” on tour while having fun. But there was tension and animosity between Harvey and Mac.
“They both alpha males. They both…they just saw it different,” he explained. “But at the end of the day, they was able to get through it.”
The “Proud Family” star admitted Harvey and Mac’s feud is what caused him to not participate in the second part of “The Original Kings of Comedy.” He said, “I think of course that was definitely a contributing circumstance but I also think it had a lot to do with the promoters on the thing. Because he got a bigger head than all of us. So the dude that put us all together started to really think it was really about him.”
The promoter Cedric mentioned is Walker Latham of Latham Entertainment. He’s worked with fellow comedic giants like Chris Rock and Chris Tucker. The North Carolina-based entrepreneur also put together “The Queens of Comedy” documentary tour that aired in 2001 with comediennes Mo’Nique, Laura Hayes, Adele Givens and Sommore. Another one of his successful productions includes “P. Diddy Presents The Bad Boys of Comedy.”
Later in the discussion, Cedric touched on the comedians being self-aware of the context of their jokes. He noted that jokes were acceptable back then because no one got offended.
“But that’s the difference,” he said. “Climate. The times we live in…what’s acceptable in society. And we just got to a point again we just have a lot more exposure to each other. We have a lot more growth that’s happened as people. So sensitivity, awareness about things that just wouldn’t be acceptable. None of the gay culture [jokes] would be acceptable back then. None it.”
It’s unclear exactly what sparked the feud between Harvey and Mac, but the gloves came off after a 2003 interview with GQ. As previously reported, Mac alleged the host of “Celebrity Family Feud” was jealous of his success and stole shows from him. Harvey later admitted he was hurt by such allegations during a 2010 interview on BET’s “Conversations with Ed Gordon.”
“I was upset at first because it just wasn’t true,” Harvey said, as reported by Gapersblock.com. “Me and Bernie had a lot of good times together, and then this article in GQ came out and put all this vicious stuff in there.”
Regarding the GQ interview, the talk show host claims, “B’ said he never said it. I had to take him at his word for it.”
Mac, who had battled with sarcoidosis, a condition that causes inflammation in tissue, died from complications with pneumonia on Aug. 9, 2008. He was 50 years old and best known for his rapid-fire punchlines and strong delivery. Harvey claims he eventually moved on after Mac’s passing with help from his widow, Rhonda McCullough.
‘Rhonda of all people knows the truth. It was a cleansing moment for me because I was able to let go of a lot of stuff,” added the 65-year-old.
“The Original Kings of Comedy” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Pluto TV and more.