Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor passed away yesterday after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

I think I was born too late to really understand Pryor. To me, he's like Lenny Bruce; a pioneer in comedy I respect more than love. I grew up with Pryor on Sesame Street and in lightweight movies like 'The Toy' and by the time I saw his stand-up movies like 'Sunset Strip' it looked a little dated. I'm sure the same could be said for someone seeing Eddie Murphy's 'Delerious' or Bill Cosby's 'Himself' today. The impact isn't the same.

But that doesn't deny the impact itself. Just like Lenny Bruce, Pryor struggled with the traditions of comedy, breaking them to create a new style that influenced everyone who came after. That effect can't be measured but it's as great as the loss today.


Brian Kunath said...

Get "Richard Pryor: Live in Concert" on Netflix. It was shot in 1979, so Pryor's clothes and some of the language is dated. But there's nothing dated about the humour. It's unbelievably, catch-your-breath funny.

He's also hilarious with Gene Wilder in Silver Streak, and even has some moments in the dopey flick, Stir Crazy.

By the time The Toy came around, Pryor had lost something off his fastball that he would never get back. But during the 70s and early 80s, he was the man. And along with George Carlin, he ranks in the top stand-up comedians of all time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you J, I didn't get what the big fucking deal about him was either.

dan x

What's with you posting being so damn nice? Take your true feelings and put it out there! If you don't get his comedy (which I don't either), just say he sucked. Don't sugar-coat it for Chrissake!

Walker said...

here are 2 words for you jon....Chuck that is comedy(hint Atari Football)

Dave said...

Anybody who doesn't understand Richard Pryor is smoking crack and needs to watch him again. Stand-up was perfected by Pryor and every comedian who gets on stage today needs to bend over and kiss his ass - or at least pay homage to him now that he's dead. The guy was a straight up genius. His comedy (much like George Carlin) had the ability to make you laugh and think at the same time. No other comic (except for Chapelle) has tackled racism so head on. So many comedians borrowed his act, were influenced by him and owe him a debt of gratitude.

Cripes, there are so many things that rock about this guy, I don't where to begin. I can't say enough about him, he was amazing.

The True Dave said...

speaking of smoking crack, I wanted to light my pipe with his head after he set his on fire......the word genius is over used. Beethoven or Churchill maybe but Pryor, sorry. He doesn't really even stand the test of time like the little rascals. Funny guy, I will give you.

Dave said...

Genius is overused, and thats why I only use it for those that deserve it. And there are many types of genius, Beethoven and Churchill were great people who were the best at what they did, and thats what I'm saying about Pryor. If you look at Ricahrd Pryor's work as "The Toy" and "Pryor's Place", then you're not going back far enough. He was a genius at stand-up and he influenced tons of comedians and comedy in general.

But hey, one man's entertainment is another man's toliet bowl. If you don't like him, oh well.