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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Laughed 'til we cried

Comments (10)

Damn. Y'know, i was watching this thing about him on TV the other day, i guess i caught it partway through. I panicked for a sec, 'cause i thought, "What, did he DIE?!?" and, ^pow^ there it is.

Two words: "Dead honky"

why is the N-word in the title of the album blurred out?

Why did you call it "the N-word"?

I saw Richard Pryor: Live In Concert in 1979 in Times Square in a theater where the lights never went up. We rolled on the floor, clutching our sides, black, white, red, yellow, howling with laughter and joy and the freedom of wit and foul sarcasm. He reached into our guts and twisted them, tickled them, taunted them. Pryor was a truth-teller when few others dared, a jester to the bourgeois, as important as Capote, or Bob and Ray, or Sheckley, or Mike Nichols. A genius.

About a year ago I listened to one of his albums, made about the same time. But this time, to me, fan of David Cross and Bill Hicks, devotees of Pryor, his humor was stilted, racist, hurtful, thuggish, his delivery loaded, his affect effected. Not funny. Not at all.

Humor doesn't travel through time. Which is why you need to laugh every day.

I found out when it came up on MSN.com over the weekend. I was stunned. Easily my favorite entertainer. The movies he did with Gene Wilder have no equal.
I recently acquired the 8-cd box set he released a couple years ago. It has all the albums he released over the years. Excellent stuff. I highly recommend it.

The man will be missed.

cicolini writes:
"Humor doesn't travel through time. Which is why you need to laugh every day."

First part false, second part true.

Humor does travel through time well. Reference Bill Cosby or Charles Schultz.

But either way, if I am wrong or write, you still need to laugh every day!

i remember that while pryor was the one who opened the door, so to speak, to use "nigger" as he did; he later went to africa and his experiences there led him to stop using the word. he no longer felt it was appropriate, that it was demeaning. he was an intelligent, complex person, but more than anything else-- he was hilarious. what a loss.

I thought Jay Leno's comment illustrated what we had here. He said back in the day, all the best young comedians were honing their acts at the Comedy Store, repeating their routines over and over. Richard Pryor was also there, but he would adlib a whole new act every night, and it would be brilliantly funny.

And sometimes it bombed, yet Pryor was never afraid to go all out.

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