*If your daddy is Richard Pryor, the greatest comedic talent that ever lived, sooner or later you’re going to have to come to terms with that.
Every time you write or say your full name, people are going to ask if you are related to Richard Pryor. So you can imagine what someone who looks just like him must go through.
Oh you can’t?
Well Rain Pryor is ready to show you that and more as she brings her play, “That Daughter’s Crazy,” – a documentary (and spin on her father’s 1974 comedy album, That N–ger’s Crazy ) to the screen at the Best of the African Diaspora International Film Festival.
“I get it,” she says of her father, Richard Pryor. “It’s just hard to avoid. He was so big, so huge to everybody. I don’t even think that I realized his impact until he died. That’s when you realize, ‘Wow, this man touched everybody’s lives. He was so crossover … white people, black people; people just loved him.’”
That Daughter’s Crazy features scenes from Fried Chicken and Latkes, a 2012 one-woman play that Rain did off-Broadway. The play revolved around what it was like growing up biracial and explores some of her less-famous influences: her mother and grandmother.
“I didn’t want it to be this ‘all about me’ kind of thing,” she says. “People already know who my dad is. To be able to focus and see these two white Jewish women who raised me, talk about me and what it was like to have a black child in the late ’60s, ’70s and ’80s … is really neat.”
Not unlike her famous dad, Pryor loves the art of entertaining. But before you go getting the wrong idea, this sibling of the most famous comedian in the world didn’t inherit her late father’s money.
And she wants to make thatperfectly clear.
She is living her life on her own dime, but at the same time she is fully aware that being the offspring of American comedy royalty has its advantages.
“The reason I work on the network I do now is, one, because of who my dad is, and two, the type of work I have done,” she says of her daytime television co-hosting gig, Arise and Shine, on the Arise network. “He’s known in Nigeria, so of course a head of a company in Nigeria would be like, ‘Come be a host of my TV show.’”
In this race-conscious society, Pryor doesn’t shy away from the reality of her Black-Jewish heritage, and steps up to make this part of her story exactly that: a part of it.
“I identify as a human being first,” she says. “I’m culturally and spiritually Afrocentric; however, I do not deny the fact that I have Jewish blood in me, and even though I am Jewish, I will always inherently be black. I think at one time I felt I had to pick because that is the world we live in, but now I am human, and I believe this and I walk this way in my life.”
The documentary intersperses bits from her solo show in which Pryor embodies the likes of her father—before and after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which would take his life in 2005; her Jewish grandmother; her brothel-running, black great-grandmother; and a bully childhood classmate. Although her father’s 1974 comedy album title centered on his willingness to confront any topic head on, the “crazy” part of Pryor’s documentary title isn’t that far off.
“I don’t take any s–t. I am the girl you don’t want to eff with on the train, you don’t want to eff with on the road. You don’t want to bulls–t me. I don’t have patience for bulls–t,” she says.