Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: We Don’t Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story (DVD)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow
Genius too often is only fully appreciated in hindsight. Robin Harris for years mastered his comedic trade underneath Hollywood’s nose and was on the cusp of achieving the mainstream recognition he so deserved. But at the age of 36 he passed away in March 1990. On the DVD documentary We Don’t Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story (Urban Works/Urban Neo) the late comedic legend’s too short career is showcased and celebrated through the stories of family, friends, peers, and rare performance footage.
The Robin Harris Story was put together by his former manager Topper Carew who does an excellent job of documenting Harris’ rise from his birth on the South Side of Chicago, to his paying dues hosting South Central, LA’s storied Comedy Act Theater, to his scene stealing appearances in films including Spike Lee Mo’ Better Blues, and Do The Right Thing, up to his untimely passing. Harris unapologetic, swagger filled and hilarious delivery has long been studied and mimicked by countless comedians, who owe him a debt of gratitude. A number of individuals who were privy to witnessing him live speak on Harris’ talents including Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence, D.L. Hughley (“He was the best comic I’ve ever seen.”) and Robert Townsend (“He was at that point of getting ready to break…and that was the tragedy.”).
Although Harris didn’t get the chance to fully reap the benefits of his talents the documentary is ultimately a commemoration of his legacy. Though the film doesn’t include all of the footage Harris compiled, it is a must see for any would be comic who needs to get versed on his or her roots beyond Cosby and Pryor. So long as his memory last, Harris continues to live on.