If I Stop, I’ll Die: The Comedy and Tragedy of Richard Pryor
by John A. Williams
Publication Date: Dec 21, 2006
List Price: $15.95 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 336
Imprint: Da Capo Press
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Parent Company: Hachette Livre
Though it is hard to imagine what America will be like now that Richard Pryor has passed away, it would be harder to imagine life if there had never been a Pryor, teaching us to laugh, and by laughing, to see. In the 1960s, when many black performers were trying to open the color 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 examines the comedian’s life and humor which not only reveals details of Pryor’s troubled but briliant career, but also places these events within the context that shaped Pryor’s outlook, personality, and opportunities. 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.
- Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
- Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
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