Today’s story is about the funniest person to grace our Comedy Library here at ImaSportsphile…..who was a comedic genius of the highest order…..while teaching life lessons through his comedy and the things he learned by screwing up in life. Without question, Richard Pryor could make you laugh …..but at the same time he could make you think…..and often you didn’t start to think until after you had stopped laughing at what he said…..for he had a wonderful knack turning many of his “real life” experiences into some outright hilarious stories…..as he was able to draw humor from virtually every impactful event of his life…..both good and bad. Pryor was certainly no saint, but he was extremely sensitive and understood how to expedite the human soul while on stage. He was the messiah for touching on all things that were taboo in society…..as he had a lazer wit which he would serve up with so much tenderness….like his impression of the wino on the street…..or the ex-Vietnam vet in a wheelchair telling the truth…..when he painted a colorful world that most people would have never known…..and he did it so well, like his description of masturbating for the 1st time. Richard Pryor always straddled the two worlds of entertainment and comedy…..with one leg in the mainstream acceptable white world….and the other leg in the much stronger knowing “street place”…..as he walked the edge of both sides….all the while displaying an unusual degree of intimacy that Richard Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. Simply put, Richard Pryor was a “rare jewel” in the world of comedy…..as in our opinion, he was the highest evolution of comedy…..who painted the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as anyone has ever done…..who spoke the truth, however outrageous …..and we here at ImaSportsphile are overjoyed to tell his story.
Comedy – 1940 To 2005 – Biographical Documentary – Richard Pryor: “Omit The Logic”
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor Sr. (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian and actor…..who reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style…..and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time. Pryor won a Primetime Emmy Award and five Grammy Awards….as well as receiving the 1st ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1998. He won the Writers Guild of America Award in 1974…..and was listed at # 1 on Comedy Central’s list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians….then in 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him 1st on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.
Comedy – 1940 To 2005 – Special – Richard Pryor: “A World Of Hurt” – A Short Documentary
Pryor’s body of work includes the concert films and recordings: Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’ in 1971….That Nigger’s Crazy in 1974…..Is It Something I Said? in 1975…..Bicentennial Nigger in 1976…..Richard Pryor: Live in Concert in 1979…..Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip in 1982…..and Richard Pryor: Here and Now in 1983. As an actor, he starred mainly in comedies. His occasional roles in dramas included Paul Schrader’s Blue Collar in 1978. He also appeared in action films, like Superman III in 1983…..plus he collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder such as the films Silver Streak (1976)….Stir Crazy (1980)….and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)…..while another frequent collaborator was actor/comedian/writer Paul Mooney.
Comedy – 1940 To 2005 – DocuShorts Special – “The Amazing Life Story Of Richard Pryor”
Pryor was born on December 1, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois…..when he grew up in a brothel run by his grandmother, Marie Carter….where his alcoholic mother, Gertrude L. Thomas, was a prostitute…..while his father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor was a former boxer, hustler and pimp. After Gertrude abandoned him when he was 10, Pryor was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie….who was a tall, violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities…. as Pryor was one of four children raised in his grandmother’s brothel. He was sexually abused at age seven….and expelled from school at the age of 14….but while in Peoria, he became a Prince Hall Freemason at a local lodge.
Comedy – 1940 To 2005 – Special – Richard Pryor: “The Legend”
Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960….but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison….as the story goes, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while he was stationed in West Germany….when he was angered that a white soldier was overly amused at the racially charged scenes of Douglas Sirk’s film Imitation of Life…..as Pryor and several other black soldiers beat and stabbed him….although not fatally.
Comedy – 1964 – Stand Up Routine – Richard Pryor Live
Comedy – 1967 – Stand Up Routine Live – Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1974 – Live On The Johnny Carson Show – Richard Pryor Stand Up Routine
Comedy – 1973 – Midnight Special Live – With Richard Pryor Stand Up Routine
Comedy – 1977 – NBC Special – Richard Pryor Live Stand Up Routine
Comedy – 1983 – Live At The Comedy Store In L A – Richard Pryor + Robin Williams
In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York’s Village Gate…..as Simone recalls Pryor’s bout of performance anxiety: “He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn’t bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”
Comedy – 1982 – Live On Sunset Strip – Richard Pryor On Jim Brown – “Whatcha Gonna Do”
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip – “The African Jungle”
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip – “Mud Bone”
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip – “Mafia Joke”
Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic with material less controversial than what was to come…..and soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson…..when his popularity led to success as a comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this period.
Comedy – 1966 – Live On Stage – Richard Pryor Sings “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out”
Comedy – 1975 -Comedy Skit – Richard Pryor Plays “Willie The Drunk” – With John Belushi As The Bartender
In September 1967, Pryor had what he described in his autobiography Pryor Convictions in 1995 as an “epiphany”…..as he walked onto the stage at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas…..with Dean Martin in the audience…..and looked at the sold-out crowd…..when he exclaimed over the microphone, “What the fuck am I doing here!?”…..and walked off the stage. Afterward, Pryor began working profanity into his act, including the word nigger…..when on his 1st comedy recording, the eponymous 1968 debut release on the Dove/Reprise label, captures this particular period….while tracking the evolution of Pryor’s routine. Around this time, his parents died….with his mother passing in 1967 and his father in 1968.
Comedy – 1983 – Live “Here And Now” – Richard Pryor On “What I Figured Out About My Dick”
Comedy – 1983 – Live “Here And Now” – Richard Pryor Vs Hostile Audience – “It’s Too Cold” & “I Stopped Drinking”
Comedy – 1979 – Richard Pryor “Live In Concert” – Joke About Police Still Applies Today
In 1969, Pryor moved to Berkeley, California…..where he immersed himself in the counterculture…..and rubbed elbows with the likes of Huey P. Newton and Ishmael Reed….plus, he performed in the Lily Tomlin specials…..then in the 1970’s, Pryor wrote for television shows such as Sanford and Son, The Flip Wilson Show, and a 1973 Lily Tomlin special…..for which he shared an Emmy Award. During this period, Pryor tried to break into mainstream television…..and he also appeared in several popular films, including Lady Sings the Blues in 1972…..The Mack in 1973…..Uptown Saturday Night in 1974…..Silver Streak in 1976…..Car Wash in 1976…..Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings in 1976…..Which Way Is Up? in 1977…..Greased Lightning in 1977….Blue Collar in 1978…..and The Muppet Movie in 1979.
Movie & Music – 1972 – “Lady Sings The Blues” Movie Clip – Richard Pryor + Diana Ross – Billie Holliday Sings “All of Me”
Movie – 1973 – Movie Clip From “The Mack” – Starring Max Julien + Richard Pryor – “Ain’t Running” Scene
Movie – 1974 – Movie Clip From “Uptown Saturday Night” – With Sydney Poitier + Bill Cosby + Richard Pryor – “Sharp Eye Washington, Private Detective” Scene
Movie – -1976 – Movie Trailer From “Silver Streak” – Starring Gene Wilder + Richard Pryor + Jill Clayburgh
Movie – 1976 – “Car Wash” Movie Clip – Starring Richard Pryor – “Daddy Rich Arrives” Scene
Movie – 1976 – “Bingo Long All Stars and Motor Kings” Movie Trailer – Starring Billy Dee Williams + James Earl Jones + Richard Pryor
Movie – 1977 – “Which Way Is Up?” Movie Clip – Starring Richard Pryor + Lonette McKee – “The Reverend Lenox Thomas” Scene
Movie – 1977 – “Greased Lightning” Movie Trailer – Starring Richard Pryor + Pam Grier + Beau Bridges + Cleavon Little
Movie – 1978 – “Blue Collar” Movie Trailer – Starring Richard Pryor + Harvey Keitel
Movie – 1979 – “The Muppet Movie” Movie Clip – With Richard Pryor + The Muppets – “Gonzo Buys Balloons For His Chick”
Pryor signed with the comedy-oriented independent record label Laff Records in 1970….and in 1971 recorded his 2nd album, Craps (After Hours). Two years later, the relatively unknown comedian appeared in the documentary Wattstax in 1972….wherein he riffed on the tragic-comic absurdities of race relations in Watts and the nation…..then not long afterward, Pryor sought a deal with a larger label…..and he signed with Stax Records in 1973. When his 3rd breakthrough album, That Nigger’s Crazy in 1974, was released…..after Laff had claimed ownership of Pryor’s recording rights…..and almost succeeded in getting an injunction to prevent the album from being sold…..when negotiations led to Pryor’s release from his Laff contract…..and in return for this concession, Laff was enabled to release previously unissued material that was recorded between 1968 and 1973, at will. That Nigger’s Crazy was a commercial and critical success….as it was eventually certified gold by the RIAA…..and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album at the 1975 Grammy Awards….but during the legal battle, the new recording label for Pryor was Stax….which briefly closed its doors…. so, Pryor returned to Reprise/Warner Bros. Records…..which re-released That Nigger’s Crazy, immediately after …Is It Something I Said?…..which was his 1st album with his new label. Like That Nigger’s Crazy, the album was a hit with both critics and fans….and it was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording at the 1976 Grammy Awards.
Comedy – 1971 – Live At The NYC Improvisation Nightclub – Richard Pryor: “Live & Smokin'”
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Hope I’m Funny”
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Wino & Junkie” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Exorcist” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Niggers Vs Police” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Nigger With A Seizure” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Niggers And Flying Saucers” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Wino Dealing With Dracula” Routine
Comedy – 1974 – Recorded Live In San Francisco – Richard Pryor: “That Nigger’s Crazy” – “Have Your Ass Home By 11:00” Routine
Pryor’s 1976 release Bicentennial Nigger continued his streak of success…..as it became his 3rd consecutive gold album….and he collected his 3rd consecutive Grammy for Best Comedy Recording for the album in 1977. With every successful album Pryor recorded for Warner….or later, his concert films and his 1980 freebasing accident….that is when Laff quickly published an album of older material to capitalize on Pryor’s growing fame….which is a practice they continued until 1983…..as the covers of Laff albums tied in thematically with Pryor movies….such as Are You Serious? for Silver Streak in 1976….The Wizard of Comedy for his appearance in The Wiz in 1978….and Insane for Stir Crazy in1980.
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “Bicentennial Nigger” Album – “Bicentennial Prayer” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “Bicentennial Nigger” Album – “Black & White Women” Routine
Pryor co-wrote Blazing Saddles (1974), directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder. Pryor was to play the lead role of Bart, but the film’s production studio would not insure him, and Mel Brooks chose Cleavon Little, instead.
Comedy – 1972 – The Midnight Special – Richard Pryor Stand-Up Routine
In 1975, Pryor was a guest host on the 1st season of Saturday Night Live….. and the 1st black person to host the show. Pryor’s longtime girlfriend, actress and talk-show host Kathrine McKee, made a brief guest appearance with Pryor on SNL. Among the highlights of the night was the now-controversial “word association” skit with Chevy Chase.
Comedy – 1975 – Saturday Night Live With Host Richard Pryor – Comedy Skit – “Word Association” With Chevy Chase + Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1975 – Saturday Night Live With Host Richard Pryor – Comedy Skit – “The Exorcist 2” – With Jane Curtin + Larraine Newman
Comedy – 1975 – Saturday Night Live With Host Richard Pryor – Comedy Skit – “The Star Wars Bar” With Bartender Richard Pryor
He would later do his own variety show, The Richard Pryor Show…..which premiered on NBC in 1977……as the show was cancelled after only four episodes probably because television audiences did not respond well to his show’s controversial subject matter…..and Pryor was unwilling to alter his material for network censors. During the short-lived series, he portrayed the 1st black President of the United States…..and spoofed the Star Wars Mos Eisley cantina….then examined gun violence in a non-comedy skit….and lampooned racism on the sinking Titanic….plus, he even used costumes and visual distortion to appear nude.
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Episode 2 – Featuring “I Didn’t Give Up Nuthin'” &“Mojo The Healer”
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – “Egypt 1909” – With Robin Williams + Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – “El Neggro”
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – –“Uncensored Food Foreplay”
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – “To Kill A Mockingbird” – With Robin Williams + Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Pilot Show Full Episode – Starring Richard Pryor + John Bleushi + Sandra Bernhard
In 1979, at the height of his success, Pryor visited Africa…..which affected him so significantly that upon returning to the United States, Pryor swore he would never use the word “nigger” in his stand-up comedy routine again.
Comedy – 1974 – The Flip Wilson Show – Comedy Skit – Reverend Elmo (Richard Pryor) and Reverend Leroy (Flip Wilson)
Comedy – 1978 – Richard Pryor “Wanted” Album – “Leon Spinks” Routine
While on a freebasing binge during the making of the film Stir Crazy in 1980….that is when Pryor doused himself with rum and set himself on fire….which he ultimately incorporated a description of the incident into his comedy show Richard Pryor: Live on Sunset Strip in 1982…..as he joked that the event was caused by dunking a cookie into a glass of low-fat and pasteurized milk, causing an explosion…..then at the end of the bit, he poked fun at people who told jokes about it by waving a lit match and saying, “What’s that? Richard Pryor running down the street.”
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 1
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 2
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 3
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 4
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 5
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 6
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 7
Comedy – 1982 – Special – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – Part 8
Before his horribly damaging 1980 freebasing incident, Pryor was about to start filming Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I in 1981….. but was replaced at the last minute by Gregory Hines…..plus, Pryor was scheduled for an appearance on The Muppet Show at that time…..which forced the producers to cast their British writer, Chris Langham, as the guest star for that episode instead. After his “final performance”, Pryor did not stay away from stand-up comedy for long…..and within a year, he filmed and released a new concert film and accompanying album, Richard Pryor: Here and Now in 1983…..which he directed himself. He also wrote and directed a fictionalized account of his life, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling…..which revolved around the 1980 freebasing incident.
Comedy – 1983 – Richard Pryor Comedy Album – “Here And Now”
In 1983 Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for $40 million and he started his own production company, Indigo Productions….. when softer, more formulaic films followed, including Superman III in 1983…..which earned Pryor $4 million…..Brewster’s Millions in 1985…. Moving in 1988…..and See No Evil, Hear No Evil in 1989…..and the only film project from this period that recalled his rough roots was Pryor’s semi-autobiographic debut as a writer-director, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling …..which was not a major success. Pryor was also originally considered for the role of Billy Ray Valentine on Trading Places (1983), before Eddie Murphy won the part.
Comedy – 1979 – The Johnny Carson Show – With Comedian Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1983 – The Johnny Carson Show – With Comedian Richard Pryor – 1st TV Appearance After Being Burned
Comedy – 1983 – The Johnny Carson Show – With Comedian Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1983 – The Johnny Carson Show – With Comedian Richard Pryor
Despite his reputation for constantly using profanity on and off camera, Pryor briefly hosted a children’s show on CBS called Pryor’s Place in 1984….. and like Sesame Street, Pryor’s Place featured a cast of puppets….which were animated by Sid and Marty Krofft….who hung out fun in a friendly inner-city environment along with several children and characters portrayed by Pryor himself….with its theme song being performed by Ray Parker, Jr…..however, Pryor’s Place frequently dealt with more sobering issues than Sesame Street ….and was cancelled shortly after its debut. Pryor co-hosted the Academy Awards twice….as network censors had warned him about his profanity for prior to the 1st show he co-hosted….and after a slip early in the program, a five-second delay was instituted when returning from a commercial break. Pryor is also one of only three Saturday Night Live hosts to be subjected to a rare five-second delay for his 1975 appearance (along with Sam Kinison in 1986 and Andrew Dice Clay in 1990).
Comedy – 1984 – Pryor’s Place Episode – “To Catch A Little Thief” – Starring Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1984 – Pryor’s Place Episode – “Kimosabe Blues” – Starring Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1984 – Sesame Street Classic – Richard Pryor’s “Alphabet Lesson”
Comedy – 1984 – Sesame Street Classic – Richard Pryor “Demonstrating Emotions”
Comedy – 1984 – Sesame Street Classic – Richard Pryor “Playing Three Kids”
Comedy – 1984 – Sesame Street Classic – Richard Pryor “Teaching How To Share With A Boy On A Park Bench”
Pryor developed a reputation for being demanding and disrespectful on film sets…..and for making selfish and difficult requests. In his autobiography Kiss Me Like a Stranger, co-star Gene Wilder says that Pryor was frequently late to the set during filming of Stir Crazy……and that he demanded, among other things, a helicopter to fly him to and from set because he was the star. Says Wilder, “Pryor was also accused of using allegations of on-set racism to force the hand of film producers into giving him more money…..for example, one day during our lunch hour in the last week of filming, the craft service man handed out slices of watermelon to each of us. Richard, the whole camera crew, and I sat together in a big sound studio eating a number of watermelon slices, talking and joking. As a gag, some members of the crew used a piece of watermelon as a Frisbee, and tossed it back and forth to each other…..when one piece of watermelon landed at Richard’s feet….which led him to get up and go home….so filming stopped….and the next day, Richard announced that he knew very very well what the significance of watermelon was…..and stated that he was quitting show business….and would not return to this film…..then the next day, Richard walked in, all smiles. I wasn’t privy to all the negotiations that went on between Columbia and Richard’s lawyers, …..but the camera operator who had thrown that errant piece of watermelon had been fired that day. I assume now that Richard was using drugs during Stir Crazy. “ Pryor appeared in Harlem Nights in 1989)…..which was a comedy-drama crime film starring three generations of black comedians featuring Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Redd Foxx.
Comedy – 1976 – “Silver Streak” Movie Clip – “On The Train In The Cabin Scene” – With Gene Wilder + Richard Pryor + Jill Clayburgh
Comedy – 1980 – “Stir Crazy” Movie Clip – “New Cellmate Scene” – Starring Richard Pryor + Gene Wilder
Comedy – 1989 – “Harlem Nights” Movie Clip – “Vera And Quick Alley Fight” – With Richard Pryor + Eddie Murphy + Redd Foxx + Della Reece
Comedy – 1989 – Reelin’ In The Years Special Unedited Interview – With Richard Pryor + Gene Wilder
In his later years starting in the early to mid-1990s, Pryor used a power-operated mobility scooter due to the acceleration of his multiple sclerosis (MS)…..which to him, MS stood for “More Shit”. He appears on the scooter in his last film appearance, a small role in David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) playing an auto-repair garage manager named Arnie. Rhino Records remastered all of Pryor’s Reprise and Warner Brothers albums for inclusion in the box set “And It’s Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992)” in 2000.
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album –“I’m Just Happy I Made It 200 Years In America” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “New Years Eve” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Hospital” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Cocaine” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Being Sensitive” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Discipline” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Black Vs White Life Styles” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Acid” Routine
Comedy – 1976 – Richard Pryor: “The Anthology: 1968 – 1992” Album – “Monkeys” Routine
In 2002, Pryor and Jennifer Lee Pryor, his wife and manager, won legal rights to all the Laff material…..which amounted to almost 40 hours of reel-to-reel analog tape…..when after going through the tapes and getting Richard’s blessing, Jennifer Lee Pryor gave Rhino Records access to the tapes in 2004. These tapes, including the entire Craps (After Hours) album, form the basis of the February 1, 2005, double-CD release Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974).
Comedy – 1077 – The Richard Pryor Show – Stand Up Comedy Routine
Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor “the Picasso of our profession” and Bob Newhart heralded Pryor as the seminal comedian of the last 50 years”…..while Dave Chappelle said of Pryor, “You know those, like, evolution charts of man? He was the dude walking upright. Richard was the highest evolution of comedy.” …..as this legacy can be attributed, in part, to the unusual degree of intimacy Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. As Bill Cosby reportedly once said, “Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it.”
Comedy – 1975 – Richard Pryor Special – “Introduction To Mudbone: A Wino Philosopher Born In Tupelo, Mississippi”
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – “Mudbone Shoe Shine Boy”
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Stand Up Routine – “Mudbone: Cock Eyed Junior Bubba”
Comedy – 1979 – Richard Pryor Special – “Mudbone: Little Feets”
Comedy – 1980 – Richard Pryor Special – “Mudbone: That Boy Fucked Up”
Comedy 1981 – Richard Pryor Special – “Mudbone Goes To Hollywood”
Comedy – 1979 – Richard Pryor Special – “Mudbone: Street Corner Wino”
Comedy – 1977 – Richard Pryor Live On Sunset Strip – “Mudbone’s Last Show: Sunshine Story”
In 1998, Pryor won the 1st ever Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts….and according to former Kennedy Center President Lawrence J. Wilker, Pryor was selected as the 1st recipient of the Prize because “as a stand-up comic, writer, and actor, he struck a chord, and a nerve, with America, forcing it to look at large social questions of race and the more tragicomic aspects of the human condition. Though uncompromising in his wit, Pryor, like Twain, projects a generosity of spirit that unites us. They were both trenchant social critics who spoke the truth, however outrageous.”
Comedy – 1999 – John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Presents The 1st Ever Mark Twain Prize for American Humor To Richard Pryor – As Robin Williams Speaks
Comedy – 1999 – Richard Pryor Live Live At The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts – “Things In The Woods” Routine
In 2004, Pryor was voted # 1 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time…..and in a 2005 British poll to find “The Comedian’s Comedian,” Pryor was voted the 10th-greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. Pryor was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. The animal rights organization PETA gives out an award in Pryor’s name to people who have done outstanding work to alleviate animal suffering…..as Pryor was active in animal rights and was deeply concerned about the plight of elephants in circuses and zoos. In 1999, he was awarded a Humanitarian Award by the group, and worked with them on campaigns against the treatment of birds by KFC. Artist Preston Jackson created a life-sized bronze statue in dedication to the beloved comedian and named it Richard Pryor: More than Just a Comedian. It was placed at the corner of State and Washington Streets in downtown Peoria, on May 1, 2015, close to the neighborhood in which he grew up with his mother….with the unveiling being held Sunday, May 3, 2015.
Comedy – 1969 – Richard Pryor “The Anthology: 1968 To 1992” Album – “When Your Woman Leaves You” Routine
Comedy & Movies – 1977 – ABC Opening For The Academy Awards – With Host Richard Pryor – Plus Ann Margaret + Chevy Chase
Comedy – 1977 – Richard Pryor – Favorite Oscars Moment
In 2002, a television documentary entitled The Funny Life of Richard Pryor depicted Pryor’s life and career. Broadcast in the UK as part of the Channel 4 series Kings of Black Comedy, it was produced, directed and narrated by David Upshal and featured rare clips from Pryor’s 1960’s stand-up appearances and films such as Silver Streak (1976), Blue Collar (1978), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1978) and Stir Crazy (1980) with contributors that included George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice-T, Paul Mooney, Joan Rivers, and Lily Tomlin…..as the show tracked down the two cops who had rescued Pryor from his “freebasing incident”, former managers and even school friends from Pryor’s home town of Peoria, Illinois. In the US, the show went out as part of the Heroes of Black Comedy series on Comedy Central, narrated by Don Cheadle
Comedy – 1975 – Richard Pryor Live Album – “Is It Something I Said”
A television documentary, Richard Pryor: I Ain’t Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! (2003) consisted of archival footage of Pryor’s performances and testimonials from fellow comedians, including Dave Chappelle, Denis Leary, Chris Rock, and Wanda Sykes, on Pryor’s influence on comedy. On December 19, 2005, BET aired a Pryor special, titled The Funniest Man Dead or Alive. It included commentary from fellow comedians, and insight into his upbringing.
Comedy – 1985 – The Dick Cavett Show – Featuring Richard Pryor – On People Trying To Sound ‘Black
Comedy – 1985 – The Dick Cavett Show – Featuring Richard Pryor – On His Addictions and Being Raised in a Brothel
Comedy – 1985 – The Dick Cavett Show – Featuring Richard Pryor – On Eddie Murphy And His Comedy Heroes
A retrospective of Pryor’s film work, concentrating on the 1970’s, titled A Pryor Engagement…..which opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Cinemas for a two-week run in February 2013. Several prolific comedians who have claimed Pryor as an influence include George Carlin, Dave Attell, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Colin Quinn, Patrice O’Neal, Bill Hicks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Bill Burr, Joey Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Louis C.K., and Eddie Izzard.
Comedy – 2005 – The Larry King Show – Featuring Richard Pryor Tribute – On The Day He Died
On May 31, 2013, Showtime debuted the documentary Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Marina Zenovich. The executive producers were Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor and Roy Ackerman. Interviewees included Dave Chappelle, Whoopi Goldberg, Jesse Jackson, Quincy Jones, George Lopez, Bob Newhart, Richard Pryor, Jr., Lily Tomlin, and Robin Williams.
Comedy – 1981 – The Johnny Carson Show – Featuring George Carlin + Richard Pryor
Comedy – 1977 – The Richard Pryor Show – Comedy Skit – “Samurai Warrior”
On March 12, 2019, Paramount Network debuted the documentary I Am Richard Pryor, directed by Jesse James Miller. The film included appearances by Sandra Bernhard, Lily Tomlin, Mike Epps, Howie Mandel, and Pryor’s ex-wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, among others. Jennifer Lee also served as an executive producer on the film.
Comedy – 1964 To 2005 – Paramount Network Special Tribute – “I Am Richard Pryor”
He is portrayed by Brandon Ford Green in Season 1 Episode 4 “Sugar and Spice” of Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. In the Epic Rap Battles of History episode George Carlin vs. Richard Pryor, Pryor was portrayed by American rapper ZEALE.
Comedy – 2021 – Special – Epic Rap Battles In History – George Carlin Vs Richard Pryor – Featuring Nice Peter + ZEALE
Comedy – 1940 To 2005 – Special – Richard Pryor Biography – “Poverty To Greatness”
Pryor’s influences included Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby and Lenny Bruce.
Comedy – 1966 To 1974 – Richard Pryor: Evolution / Revolution Album – “Hillbillies” Routine
Comedy – 1966 To 1974 – Richard Pryor: Evolution / Revolution Album – “Chinese Food” Routine
Comedy – 1966 To 1974 – Richard Pryor: Evolution / Revolution Album – “I’m A Negro”
Pryor met actress Pam Grier through comedian Freddie Prinze. They began dating when they were both cast in Greased Lightning in 1977…..as Grier helped Pryor learn to read and tried to help him with his drug addiction….. then Pryor married another woman while dating Grier. Pryor dated actress Margot Kidder during the filming of Some Kind of Hero in 1982….as Kidder stated that she “fell in love with Pryor in two seconds flat” after they first met. Pryor was married seven times to five women:
Patricia Price, to whom he was married 1960–1961.
Shelley Bonus, to whom he was married 1967–1969.
Deborah McGuire, an aspiring model and actress whom he married on September 22, 1977…..as they dated on and off for four years prior to their marriage…..then they separated in January 1978….and their divorce was finalized in August 1978.
Jennifer Lee, an actress and interior designer whom Pryor had hired to decorate his home….when they married in August 1981 and divorced in October 1982 due to his drug addiction…..but they remarried on June 29, 2001….and remained married until Pryor’s death.
Flynn Belaine, an aspiring actress whom he married in October 1986…..as they met when Pryor was performing in Washington, D.C. in 1984…..but just two months after they married, Pryor filed for divorce….then he withdrew the petition the same day…..and a week later he filed for divorce again…..as their divorce was finalized in July 1987…..however, they remarried on April 1, 1990…..but divorced again in July 1991.
Comedy – 1971 – Special – Richard Pryor Album – “Craps”
Pryor had seven children with six different women:
Renee Pryor, born July 20, 1957, the child of Pryor and girlfriend Susan, when Pryor was 16.
Richard Pryor Jr., born April 10, 1962, the child of Pryor and his first wife, Patricia Price.
Elizabeth Anne, born April 24, 1967, the child of Pryor and girlfriend Maxine Anderson.
Rain Pryor, born July 16, 1969, the child of Pryor and his second wife, Shelley Bonus.
Steven, born November 14, 1984, the child of Pryor and Flynn Belaine, who later became his fifth wife.
Franklin, born April 29, 1987, the child of Pryor and actress/model Geraldine Mason.
Kelsey, born October 25, 1987, the child of Pryor and his fifth wife, Flynn Belaine.
Comedy – 1968 – Richard Pryor Album – “L A Jail”
Nine years after Pryor’s death, in 2014 the biographical book Becoming Richard Pryor by Scott Saul stated that Pryor “acknowledged his bisexuality”……and in 2018, Quincy Jones and Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee claimed that Pryor had had a sexual relationship with Marlon Brando….and that Pryor was open about his bisexuality with his friends. Lee later told TMZ, in explanation, that “it was the 70’s! Drugs were still good… If you did enough cocaine, you’d fuck a radiator and send it flowers in the morning”. In his autobiography Pryor Convictions, Pryor talked about having a two-week relationship with Mitrasha, a trans woman, which he called “two weeks of being gay”. In his first special, Live & Smokin’, Pryor discusses performing fellatio, and in 1977, he said at a gay rights show at the Hollywood Bowl, “I have sucked a dick.”
Comedy – 1984 – Hezakya News & Films Special Report – Richard Pryor
Late in the evening of June 9, 1980, Pryor poured 151-proof rum all over himself and lit himself on fire…..whereas the Los Angeles police reported he was burned by an explosion while freebasing cocaine. Pryor claimed his injuries were caused by burning rum. While ablaze, he ran down Parthenia Street from his Los Angeles home, until being subdued by police…..when he was taken to a hospital…..where he was treated for 2nd and 3rd-degree burns covering more than half of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital. Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee recalled when he began freebasing cocaine: “After two weeks of watching him getting addicted to this stuff I moved out. It was clear the drug had moved in and it had become his lover and everything. I did not exist.”
Comedy – 1987 – Latenight With David Letterman – With Special Guest Richard Pryor
In November 1977, after many years of heavy smoking and drinking, Pryor suffered a mild heart attack at age 36…..when he recovered and resumed performing in January the following year….then in 1986, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis…..and in 1990, Pryor suffered a 2nd heart attack while in Australia…..and underwent triple heart bypass surgery in 1991. In late 2004, his sister said he had lost his voice as a result of his multiple sclerosis, however, on January 9, 2005, Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Lee, rebutted this statement in a post on Pryor’s official website…..while citing Richard as saying: “I’m sick of hearing this shit about me not talking … not true … I have good days, bad days … but I still am a talkin’ motherfucker!” On December 10, 2005, nine days after his 65th birthday, Pryor suffered a 3rd heart attack in Los Angeles….and was taken to a local hospital after his wife’s attempts to resuscitate him failed….but was pronounced dead at 7:58 a.m. PST. His widow Jennifer was quoted as saying, “At the end, there was a smile on his face.” He was cremated, and his ashes were given to his family…..and were later scattered in the bay at Hana, Hawaii by his widow in 2019. Forensic pathologist Michael Hunter believes Pryor’s fatal heart attack was caused by coronary artery disease that was at least partially brought about by years of tobacco smoking.
Comedy & Movie – 1965 – Movie Clip From Movie “Crazy As Hell” – With Richard Pryor – “African Gunjee” Scene
Richard Pryor was a comedic genius, and is generally recognized as one of all time’s greatest and most influential standup comedians. There wouldn’t be George Carlin, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K. without Pryor. the brutal honest expressions was his gift. His acts exposed the demons he dealt with fueled with a serious drug addiction which most have/had in one form or another..the episode in the Black Dynamite anime vividly details Richards true character as a funny comic that often times wanted to be taken more seriously when exposing the ills of our society as many “so called” black leaders have done. The most honest poignant storyteller & comic narrator of American culture, indeed a one of a kind human being.
Comedy – 2020 – ABC Special – “The Last Days Of Richard Pryor” – Part 1
Comedy – 2020 – ABC Special – “The Last Days Of Richard Pryor” – Part 2
Comedy – 2020 – ABC Special – “The Last Days Of Richard Pryor” – Part 3
In concluding this story, it seems to be a waste of time to try to attempt to psychoanalyze anything about Richard Pryor….but rather to state the obvious facts as portrayed in this video collection of the man. He was unquestionably a comedic genius and a multitalented entertainer….whether on stage, in a movie, on a talk show, writing and directing a film or being a screen writer….as he had so much talent stored up in his “toothpick” frame. For here was a person that just couldn’t be held back by an abusive upbringing in a brothel in East Peoria…..or setting himself on fire as a result of his lifelong addiction to drugs….or being confined to a wheel chair as the result of a horrible disease like MS (More Shit as he called it)…..but rather, here was a man that could find humor in all of his “life experiences”…..and of utmost importance, MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH….which is one of the greatest gifts that there is to the human spirit…..and he did it all with an underlying natural grace of intuitive sensitivity…..albeit with words that were harse and obscene…..and at the end of the day, you just couldn’t help LAUGHING at his genius. Thank you God for Richard Pryor….may he R.I.P.
Comedy – 2020 – ABC Special – “The Last Days Of Richard Pryor” – Part 4
Comedy – 2020 – ABC Special – “The Last Days Of Richard Pryor” – Part 5