Gone But Definitely Not Forgotten

December 11, 2005 | Inspiration

Richard Pryor died this past weekend. I was sadden hearing about his death. For me, he was a great comedian. Not like Bill Cosby, although one could argue Bill’s kinda moving in Richard’s direction as he gets older. Richard was raw, his humor biting, but he hit the truth every single time. Raunchy yes. But not the way other comics tried to imitate him by using profanity for profanity’s sake. Chris Rock comes close to being a new Richard Pryor. Racism, poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, Richard could dig out the pain, mine the humor and make one laugh and think. Richard had many movie roles, but as Piano Man in Lady Sings The Blues, he was awesome. When his character died I remember holding my breath and crying. When he almost died in real life from freebasing cocaine, and had the nerve to deny his drug addiction to Barbara Walters and then later tell her he lied to her, I cracked up when he took his addiction and turned it into standup that demonstrated how powerful drugs can be. In Richard Pryor Live on Sunset Strip, his comic genius was in full force. He talked about how drugs made him believe he could fight Jim Brown and tell him where to f**k off. Interesting how the talking drug pipe sounded like Richard Nixon. At the end of the concert he lights a match and tells the audience he knows what people have been saying about him. He moves the lit match around and says, ‘Yeah, there goes Richard running down the street.’ He turned the mirror on himself and saw what everyone else saw. He wasn’t pathetic he was damn funny. I forgave him for movies such as Superman IV(?) and The Toy. His comedic partnership with Gene Wilder was hysterical. I didn’t know he helped write Blazing Saddles. His ability to act out his talent waned in the multiple sclerosis that weakened his body, but the mind still appeared to be active. In 1998, he received the first Mark Twain Prize for Humor. Richard’s gone, but MudBone lives forever.

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3 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. A truly funny man is gone, and we’ll all miss him. The color of his skin didn’t matter–he was a human being, with a human being’s weaknesses. He was a great comedian, that’s for sure.


  2. A beautiful tribute, Yasmine, to a man with a great talent. He was the best.


  3. I also grieved when Richard Pryor died. I thought the best tribute to him was that statement that he was “profane and profound.”

    Truth telling is a powerful tool in humor. I agree that Chris Rock comes the closest to Richard of the young group of comics coming up.


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