Friday, May 29, 2009

We Owned The 80's - Robin Harris.

Anyone alive in the 80's surely remembers Robin Harris' shortlived career. I usually give my brand of commentary to these 80's retrospectives, but I am pulling from the guy's bio since I don't want to overlook anything.
1985 was Harris' year; as the master of ceremonies at the Comedy Act Theater, his “old school” brand of humor began to gain him a mainstream following. A large-eyed stand-up churlish brand of humor and quick put-downs were his trademark. Harris made a promising feature debut playing a no-nonsense bartender in the feature film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988). Harris performed in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). As "Sweet Dick Willie," Harris served as part of the neighborhood "Greek chorus" that commented on the events of an increasingly tense day. Harris was Pop, the no-nonsense, quick-witted father of Kid in House Party (1990). He followed up later that year with a small turn as a jazz club MC in Mo' Better Blues. He also had a role in Eddie Murphy's Harlem Nights (1989).

In Harris' "Bébé's Kids" routines, Harris' girlfriend Jamika would insist that he take her friend Bébé's three ill-behaved children with them on a date, as she continually agreed to babysit them. The children would regularly make a fool out of and/or annoy Harris. "We Bébé's kids," they would proclaim, "we don't die...we multiply."

The Hudlin Brothers had intended to make a feature film based upon the "Bébé's Kids" sketches, but Harris died while the film was in pre-production. Bébé's Kids instead became an animated feature—the first ever to feature an all-Black main cast—directed by Bruce W. Smith and featuring the voices of Faizon Love (as Harris), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, and Tone Lōc.
Here's Harris' renowned BeBe's Kids routine. I've heard this over 1000 times, and it's still funny to this day.

The infamous "follow the drip" scene from House Party.

And here's his HBO One Night Stand. Yeah, the guy repeats jokes sometimes, but he still kills.

Sadly, Harris' career was short circuited by a massive heart attack that took his life in 1990. Odd as it may seen, he was only 36 at the time. Imagine what he'd have gone on to do had he lived.

Question: What's your favorite Robin Harris Joke? Had he lived, could Harris have eventually challenged Richard Pryor for the Funniest Of All Time crown?

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