“Pops” was celebrated in style.
Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, David Letterman, Cedric the Entertainer, and more attended John Witherspoon’s funeral at Forrest Lawn in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Nov. 5). Instead of wearing basic black, attendees were encouraged to show up in colorful ensembles to celebrate the life of the legendary actor and comedian.
Letterman shared the opening remarks during the ceremony. The former late night talk show host, who had been friends with Witherspoon were friends for 45 years, joked that Witherspoon was supposed to speak at his funeral one day.
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Cube regarded the Detroit native as “one of the funniest people” he’s ever known. “He’s been funny my whole life,” he said while reminiscing about watching Witherspoon on The Richard Pryor Show and The Robert Townsend Show, the latter of which inspired Cube to cast him in Friday.
“He had one line [on The RTS] and I knew I wanted him to be my father on Friday. His one line was: ‘why the hell they ain’t playing no Al Green in here?,” Cube said as the crowd laughed.
“Laughter is the medicine for our mind body and soul it helps us get through this crazy world and God bless the ones who make us laugh,” he continued, sharing how Witherspoon was “naturally funny no matter how bad the script was.”
“There was nothing you could do to harness John’s funny. It was gonna’ come through, no matter what you gave him. That was his true gift, and we all loved John because of that. We all knew we were in the presence of greatness.”
Additional speakers included Witherspoon’s Wayans Bros co-star Shawn Wayans (his brother, Marlon Wayans, was unable to attend due to his work schedule), Bill Bellamy, George Wallace, and members of Whitherspoon’s family. Robert Townsend, The Boondocks creator Aaaron McGruder and Rep. Maxine Waters were also among those in attendance. Regina King wasn’t able to attend, but sent a video message that was played during the ceremony.
Witherspoon, 77, died last week at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
See video and photos from the memorial service below.
#HappeningNow “He will be loved and he will be remembered for a long long time” @AngelaEGibbs words during John Witherspoon funeral service. Among the attendees @icecube @christuckerreal @RepMaxineWaters @shawnwayans_ @CedEntertainer Full story @NBCLA 4pm with @TedNBCLA pic.twitter.com/tug2RkAiUd
— Armando Aparicio (@armandapari) November 5, 2019
JOHN WITHERSPOON’S FUNERAL🌴🎬🌹The “Friday” crew was present to honor John Witherspoon at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. #JohnWitherspoon #TheCUTChronicles (©2019 https://t.co/YKYHUdPZK0) pic.twitter.com/dPad7iqJtT
— Dr. Eric J. Chambers (@EricJChambers) November 6, 2019
Here are some great moments from today’s John Witherspoon Funeral. @NBCLA was the only local station allowed at the service. Some of the best comedians in the industry gathered to honor “Pops” @shawnwayans_ John’s son @jdwitherspoon and @Letterman remembered @John_POPS_Spoon pic.twitter.com/Ftw2U9y6vA
— Armando Aparicio (@armandapari) November 6, 2019
See more tributes by fellow greats below.