Margeaux Watson
December 27, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

We Don't Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Robin Harris
director
Topper Carew
genre
Documentary

We gave it a B-

The documentary We Don’t Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story is about comedian Robin Harris, who, in the late 1980s, went on to star in such films as Do the Right Thing and House Party. Harris led a charge of black comedians in Hollywood that included Robert Townsend, Bernie Mac, and D.L. Hughley. His signature stand-up bit was called ”Bebe’s Kids” — about babysitting a bunch of misbehaving children — which in 1992 was adapted into the first-ever animated feature by black filmmakers. But after helping to pave the way for guys like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle to make the leap from comedy clubs to film and television without watering down their urban humor, Harris’ career was abruptly cut short: Two weeks after the premiere of his stellar 1990 HBO One Night Stand special, he died of a heart attack at age 36. Harris’ brief yet brilliant career is outlined in this glaringly low-budget biography. Family, friends, and an impressive array of industry all-stars — including Joe Torry, Martin Lawrence, and Cedric the Entertainer — weigh in on the Chicago native’s life and work. Bonus clips of his stand-up act are also included, but a definitive retrospective this is not. Robin Harris remains an unsung king of comedy sorely in need of a proper tribute befitting his legacy.

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