Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Godspeed, Richard Pryor

I can't tell you how many times I've seen Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip. When it came out, I was dating a guy who owned every comedy album Richard Pryor had ever recorded. C was a huge fan and turned me on to Pryor's comedic genius. I was in my late teens and so much of our time was spent riding around town and listening to Richard Pryor. We saw Sunset Strip on the day that it opened at the theater in Lafayette. C and I could quote almost every line from it and from most of the tapes as well.

Richard Pryor could tell a story like no one else could. I still laugh and laugh when I hear his routines about things like the woman with little tiny baby feet, the deer hunter, his grandmother making him go get his own switch, his dad making him get home before 11:30. When Richard Pryor took the stage his comedy was raw and his language was foul but you were guaranteed to laugh. He was smart, angry, lewd, and perceptive of life all around him. I gained a lot about race and racism from his comedy.

This morning Richard Pryor died of a heart attack at the age of 65. He'd been suffering from multiple sclerosis for a number of years now. He'd beaten alcholism and drug addiction. He will be deeply missed.