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If I Stop I’ll Die: The Comedy and Tragedy of Richard Pryor
by John A. Williams and Dennis A. Williams

    Publication Date:
    List Price: Unavailable
    Format: Paperback, 250 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    ISBN13: 9781560250623
    Imprint: Da Capo Press
    Publisher: Perseus Books Group
    Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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    Book Description:
    Though it would be hard to imagine an America without a Richard Pryor, cursed and blessed though he is, it would be harder still to imagine, or endure, life if there had never been a Pryor, teaching us to laugh, and by laughing, to see. from IF I STOP I’LL DIE. In the 1960s, when many black performers were trying to open the colors barrier, comedian Richard Pryor was slamming into it with a vengeance. Employing the language and attitude of the black ghetto, he assaulted racism in comic routines that were both outrageous and screamingly funny. IF I STOP I’LL DIE is an incisive examination of the comedian’s life and humor which not only reveals details of Pryor’s troubled but brilliant career - his infamous Las Vegas metamorphosis, his friendships with the black intelligentsia of 1960s Berkeley, his little-known contributions to the scripts in which he appeared - but also places these events within the context that shaped Pryor’s outlook, personality, and opportunities. And it captures the irony that pervaded his life and career: how he could present brilliantly universal material from such a militantly black perspective; how the powers of Hollywood could force him to portray on film the very racial caricatures that he lampooned on stage; how he could publicly flaunt his private exploits, with embellished comedic versions of his drug use, sexual adventures, and bursts of violence, while fiercely protecting the real facts behind such episodes. For fans of this enormously gifted comic, actor, and writer, and for everyone interested in comedy and contemporary culture, this is an essential retrospective of one of America’s most enigmatic artists.


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