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Published on Mar 14, 2014
Dick's Last Stand is Donelle Woolford's 40-minute reenactment of the standup routine that Richard Pryor wrote and performed in 1977 for the last episode of his short-lived network television show. The routine is a subversive work of deconstruction and social commentary that, by Pryor's design, was censored from the final broadcast. Dick's Last Stand honors Pryor's brash political humor and marks its return to the live stage, where its discourse on race, representation, conformity, and subterfuge still rings eerily true. Throughout the original performance Pryor continually dissembles himself, playing with the notion that Richard Pryor, comedian, is someone who cannot be pinned down or controlled. This defiance is what attracted Woolford to the performance in the first place, but her reenactment pushes the mise en abyme even further. Dick's Last Stand is Donelle Woolford playing Richard Pryor playing Richard Pryor playing Mudbone across generations and in drag. This performance is realized in cooperation with the Whitney Museum of American Art, on the occasion of the 2014 Biennial.