April 7, 2013 —
Richard Pryor, one of the most influential comedians of all-time, gained pop star status in the 1970's with his incisive storytelling about issues including race. Now, his daughter Rain is sharing her take on growing up biracial in '70s and '80s Los Angeles, the child of the African-American comic genius and a Jewish go-go dancer.
In her one-woman show, "Fried Chicken and Latkes," Pryor brings to life the family members, societal pressures and personal experiences that forged her identity at a time when attitudes about race in the U.S. were rapidly changing.
"I really wanted to tell a story about me, so people would get to know who I am," Pryor said. "But at the same time really talk about things that were important to me. And, race was always such a big issue for me, and still is, especially in our country."
Pryor began acting in the late 1980's. She starred in the TV sit-com "Head of the Class" and the Showtime series "Rude Awakening." When she first started developing her solo show, it was a lot more cabaret style with what she calls "a more Jewish shticky kind of humor." But after her father passed away in 2005, she decided to focus on how race affected her growing up.
In her off-Broadway show, Pryor adeptly channels her father to reveal their complex relationship.
"I had an awesome relationship with my dad, because it was so honest, so pure," Pryor said. "It's like he could be two people at once. He could be the guy who was on drugs who didn't have time for you because the hookers were more important. But then he could be the dad that's like "Let me sit and talk to you about your day and what happened and how can we solve the problems.""
"Fried Chicken and Latkes" is in an open-ended run at the Actors Temple Theater.