Death of Richard Pryor: The World Will Miss Him | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Death of Richard Pryor: The World Will Miss Him

I remember years ago when my dad had a record of "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip". My older sister decided to play it, and I heard some words that I wasn't familiar with at such a young age. Fortunately, I had the common sense not to repeat them, so my mother never had to slap the taste out of my mouth, so to speak.

LOS ANGELES - Richard Pryor, the groundbreaking comedian whose profanely personal insights into race relations and modern life made him one of Hollywood's biggest black stars, died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

"We loved him and will miss you," his ex-wife, Flynn Pryor, said from her Florida home...

More here.

Comedians after them tried to "outcuss" him, but most of them just sounded like they've been licking a toilet rim. I prefer the cleaner styles of Bill Cosby and Sinbad, but I could overlook Pryor's potty mouth most of the time for one simple reason: he was funny.

R.I.P.

Previous Comments

ID
103874
Comment

LW, Richard was foulmouthed for most of his life but he was funny. While pledging a fraternity in college my so-called big brothers would play tapes of Richard Pryor and dare us to laugh. We couldn't avoid laughing and got abused for it. Richard cursed much of the time to make a point, he didn't just curse like many of his followers. I love Cosby, Sinbad, Ced the Entertainer, Heathcliff Slocum and the likes for brillance without profanity. Richard knew black folks well. He knew we had seen many of his characters in the black neighborhoods, and he knew how we felt about issues. Similarly, his honesty when interactions with white folks and other races allowed him to know them too. Blacks, Whites, Asians, and Latins all laughed because they recognized how perceptive and honest he was about what he saw. Once he stopped trying to imitate Coz, he surpassed him. Very few can say Cosby's standup routines were funnier than Richard Pryor's even with the cursing. I have never seen anything funnier than the Mudbone and Tootlum characters. For instance, while they were both standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, one of them said I have to relieve myself. That one went went on to say "this water is cold." The other one said "it's deep too." Women don't fret, that was a male joke. The Ms. Rudolph story was even funnier. Daymon Wayans,, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Robin Williams, Bernie Mack, Martin Lawrence, Steve Harvey, and countless other comedians of all races, will all tell you that Richard was the King of Comedy. Fortunately, most of his proteges were smart enough to emulate his stage personna and not his off-stage life. Hopefully, this is true.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-12T11:24:47-06:00
ID
103875
Comment

LW, I might add that Richarad Pryor was one of the few people who got away using the N word with few black people hating or disliking him for using it so cavalierly. His respect and love for black people was so evident and understood that we didn't even question whether he was being ofensive to our race or not. Maybe his great humor blinded us or we were so busy laughing that we couldn't even discern the disrespect if any was ever meant. However, even Richard decided against using the word after visiting Africa. This should tell the Rappers and Eric Michael Dyson something since they think using the word in another mode will disempower it. I don't think the Rappers can validly claim they're using the word with good intentions? Richard also was one of the first brothers I know who dated women of all races openly, especially white womans, and nobody I know complained about it. Richard was Richard and everybody knew he was a real brother or human being even if you saw him dating a tree. Also, Richard was lucky enough to not give a crap what nobody thought of him. Now, I admit the drugs might have had something to do with this. Another one of my favorite stories about Richard Pryor involved a story about "Going for bad." Richard said he used to like to hang with the boys who went for bad. One time he got caught standing alone, and Jessie (a real bad dude) asked him "what are you gonna do little N____ ." Richard said he said to Jessie, "nothing, I was just standing here looking around." So, Jessie said "unbald your fist then." And he had to unbald his fist standing right there shaking before Jessie. He quit going for bad on that day.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-13T16:09:08-06:00
ID
103876
Comment

I loved listening to my Mom's Richard Pryor albums when I was a kid (I'd have to sneak a listen when she was down the street at her friend's house, of course!). As an adult, I learned to appreciate the genius of RP's comedy, particularly the characters he created like Mudbone, and the genuine mix of personal pain and social insight forged within his routines. I am saddened though that most young comedians who followed didn't really "get" the deeper meanings in his comedy, and instead rate themselves funny by the number of expletives they can spew in their routines. That's largely what black comedy, with few exceptions, has degenerated to in modern times. While some of it is funny, must of it is just a tired, endless stream of vulgarity and cussing.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2005-12-13T17:21:39-06:00
ID
103877
Comment

I am saddened though that most young comedians who followed didn't really "get" the deeper meanings in his comedy, and instead rate themselves funny by the number of expletives they can spew in their routines. That's largely what black comedy, with few exceptions, has degenerated to in modern times. While some of it is funny, must of it is just a tired, endless stream of vulgarity and cussing. ejeff, Lord knows this is true. I remember when we used to stay up late and watch Def Comedy Jam on HBO. Every other word should have been bleeped most of the time. However, there were a couple of less vulgar comedians I remember that had me laughing: J. Anthony Brown and Hamburger Jones. Does anyone else remember Hamburger Jones?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-12-14T21:24:31-06:00
ID
103878
Comment

Latasha, sounds like Hamburger has done a guest spot on Chappelle's show; not sure when: http://newtralf.com/artistdetail.php?id=96 J. Anthony Brown now has a rocking web site and his own diabetes foundation. Sounds like he has done a heck of a lot of good stuff with his celebrity status. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-14T22:10:43-06:00
ID
103879
Comment

Don't forget J. Anthony's big job as a co-host on The Tom Joyner Morning Show. Talk about laughing 'til you cry!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-12-14T23:03:26-06:00
ID
103880
Comment

Yes I remember Hamburger. I never liked him as much as many of them, but I remember him being clean which is good. J. Anthony Brown is funny because he truly has the comedic gift of an exceptionally quick wit. He could be very funny without a rehearsal or time to think about his material. Richard Pryor had this gift too. Y'all remember cross-eyed or cock-eyed junior, a slavery time overseer. "He would say pick that up and 4 or 5 brothers would bend down." Richard had a way of talking about very painful incidents and making us laugh about them. Do y'all also remember Junior's overweight girlfriend that slapped Mudbone or Tootlum as he greeted and tried to assist her as she exited a horse carriage? If my memory serves me correctly she suspciously and accidentally drowned in the outhouse later on that evening.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-15T10:08:34-06:00
ID
103881
Comment

I bought a dvd package of The Richard Pryor Show. Althought he produced four episodes, they were the most creative comedy shows I've seen. He also worked with great comedic talents such as Paul Mooney, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon (Ice Cube's dad on the movie Fridays), Robin Williams, Tim Reid, and the list goes on. Pryor was a multi-faceted comedian who could tell a good joke, perform fantastic characterizations and witty improvisations, and do some physical humor. Pryor's comedy shows seemed to be a cutting edge version of Red Skeleton mixed with Ernie Kovacs. Indeed he broke ground for so many comics, and he influenced satirical writers like myself. He was truly a pioneer ahead of his time. Peace, love and universal understanding from your resident satirist, Ken Stiggers

Author
Stiggers
Date
2005-12-17T01:07:21-06:00
ID
103882
Comment

I just remembered a Saturday morning show Pryor used to have called Pryor Place or something like that. It kind of reminded me of Sesame Street a little because of the mixture of people and puppets. My favorite was the rats who lived in the sewer. They had little furniture and wore clothes and everything.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-12-17T12:50:55-06:00

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