"Call Me Adam" chats with comedian, actress, and writer Rain Pryor about her one-woman show Fried Chicken & Latkes, Rain's funny take on growing up Black and Jewish as the daughter of one of the world’s most beloved and iconic funny men, comic genius Richard Pryor.
Fried Chicken & Latkes, directed by Kamilah Forbes, is making its world premiere at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem (2031 Fifth Ave between 125th & 126th Street) through June 28! Click here for tickets!
1. After several developmental runs, Fried Chicken & Latkes, is now making its world premiere at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem from June 2-June 28. What made now the right time to have the show's world premiere? We finally had the right level of production team and the right director.
2. Why did you choose to create a one woman show about your life as opposed to writing it as a book? I wrote a book also, but after I had begun my solo show. I never set out to tell my story as much as, I wanted to entertain and show my talents.
3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Fried Chicken & Latkes? A sense of, we all still have work to do, to make the world a more racially tolerant place. That maybe they audience member can see a piece of themselves or people they know or have known in it.
4. In Fried Chicken & Latkes, you play all 11 characters. What do you like about playing multiple characters in one show and what challenges do you face with this kind of immediate change every night? I love characterization of us humans and the psychology that goes with their movements and choices. The challenge is, to separate each character in specifics as not to have them be one, but to really craft individual people.
5. What was it like to go back through your life to create this show? Did any emotions or memories come to the forefront that you didn't expect? I grew up with telling the reality/truth. So there was no real catharsis, just writing a story that was about us versus them but yet from my perspective.
6. Fried Chicken & Latkes is your take on growing up Black & Jewish as the daughter of one of the world’s most beloved & iconic funny men, comic genius Richard Pryor. What do you think your dad's reaction would be to this show? Dad would love it. He would say he was proud and to keep on keeping on.
7. Without giving too much away or answering this question with something that is not in the show, what was it like to grow up as Richard Pryor's daughter and how did you come into your own? Do you remember the moment you felt like I have made it on my own? What was that moment like? Dad was a dad. He was strict, which I find funny for a comic and known drug abuser. However, it made me who I am and strong. I think I found my "own" when I had a child.
8. What was one thing your dad taught you that you don't talk about in Fried Chicken & Latkes? Don't ever date a comic. I of course a few times, had to test his theory. He was right.
9. In addition to Fried Chicken & Latkes premiering at The National Black Theatre Festival this summer, your new documentary, That Daughter's Crazy will be shown as well. How does your documentary differ from Fried Chicken & Latkes? The film is a more in depth look of how I came to create the show and why.
10. As if your show and documentary weren't enough, you are also releasing your comedy CD Black & White on the same label as your dad's 12 comedy CDs. What made you want to record your comedy CD on the same label as your dad? What was the recording experience like for you? I did not set out to do a comedy CD. I am still a baby in that world. However when David Drozen approached me, I knew I had to take a leap and do what was presented to me. The experience was a challenge I had to overcome. I had to face the fear that I had/was becoming a stand up.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Tell the truth no matter what. You'll feel better in the end.
12. What have you learned from being a performer/writer? You must as a writer, write it all down and never edit as you go. As a performer it's to always breathe life into the person or persons you are portraying.
13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to control water. It's a powerful and needs to be respected. We depend on it to survive.
14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it? It would have watermelon, rum, gin. I don't know, but sounds exotic lol.
15. Favorite skin care product? I have two, pure coconut oil great for skin and bacteria. And Kai it's a fantastic oil perfume that smells divine.
Rain Pryor is an award-winning actor, writer, producer, standup comedian, activist, dynamic speaker and mother. She wrote and starred in Fried Chicken & Latkes receiving rave reviews during its development. She followed up with That Daughter’s Crazy, an award-winning, autobiographical documentary and her comedy CD Black & White.
Rain made her TV debut on the ABC hit series Head of the Class, playing the tough-talking "T.J." and starred opposite Sherilyn Fenn & Lynn Redgrave as "Jackie" on the Showtime series Rude Awakening. She is currently a co-host of ARISE TV’s Arise & Shine, which airs in New York, London & throughout Africa. Her stage credits include the title role of "Billie Holiday" in The Billie Holiday Story (UK Tour), "Ella Fitzgerald" in Marilyn & Ella (UK tour) and "Lady in Red" in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
As a standup comedian, Rain regularly headlines across the country, from the Florida Improv (with the Jokes on You Comedy Tour) to Carolines on Broadway & from the Funny Stop & Joke Factory to the Borgata.