What do you do when you're born to legendary comedian Richard Pryor and white Jewish go-go dancer Shelley Bonus in Los Angeles, California, spending your formative years navigating what it's like to be Black and Jewish? You write a show about it! Rain Pryor joins host Robin Milling for a backstage chat about her one-woman show, Fried Chicken & Latkes, now playing at the National Black Theater in Harlem, New York.
On stage Rain tells poignant tales of her childhood, growing up in Beverly Hills in the heyday of the 60s and 70s, expertly weaving in the voices of her mother, her Bubby, her father's grandmother, and her dad. There was the time when she was five and someone called her the 'N' word, and all through her teenage years valley girls bullied her just because she looked different. She tells Robin, 'Growing up in Beverly Hills there weren't kids like me. I think I just wanted to feel normal. It wasn't like I wanted to be white. I didn't want to be black. I just wanted to be OK to be me and it wasn't. I was bullied when kids would chase me down the street throwing rocks at me; that's bullying. It felt like I was running for my life through Beverly Hills! And I literally hid in bushes.'
And then there are the stories of her famous father who had Miles Davis play her a lullaby to send her to dreamland, and when she first realized his comic genius. Father and daughter relationships can be tricky after divorce, but Rain also had to deal with sometimes coming second to her dad's fame and career. She tells Robin how his presence is still strongly felt even 10 years after his death, and dedicates the show to his memory.