Robin Harris: “We Don’t Die, We Multiply!”
Comedian Robin Harris made you laugh, like really laugh, whenever he touched a microphone. His storytelling, comedic style, and comedic timing to talk about any and everyone quickly turned him into a household name.
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Harris took over the comedy scene in the late ’80s and along the way, caught the eye of Hollywood producers and directors like Reginald Hudlin, Spike Lee, Eddie Murphy and Keenen Ivory Wayans. His skill landed parts in hit films like Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Harlem Nights and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.
However, it was director, writer and producer Hudlin’s 1990 hip hop comedy House Party that helped to solidify Harris as a real-life star.
“Every time we did a take, he’d create a different joke,” smiles Hudlin. “It was really challenging because he just coming up with so many fantastic ideas — he was just so funny. But the biggest challenge was when we were shooting, we actually had to keep a straight face because Robin would be so funny. Everyone would break character and just bust out laughing. There were even some takes where the camera man would laugh and the camera would shake. Robin would just waste film. He would ruin everything because he was so doggone funny.”
Some of Harris’ funniest quotes:
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- I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a drunk. Alcoholics got to go to them god damn meetings.
- If you don’t tell me where your little brother is, I’m gonna beat the black off you, and you’re gonna look lighter than Michael Jackson.
- If you tried to phone hell from here, it’d be a local call.
- Your mama’s so old, she was there the first day of slavery.
In the early hours of March 18, 1990, Harris died in his sleep of a heart attack in his Chicago hotel room after performing for a sold out crowd at the Regal Theater.
In memory of Robin, here are three tips to live longer and build a stronger heart:
1. De-stress your heart – Unplug yourself from the news cycle and your email. It’s good for you and your heart. Stress raises blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. These days, people are less and less capable of leaving stress at the office because everyone is connected 24/7, but you need to do it, at least for your heart’s sake.