Richard Pryor told America about racism but
America just wanted to laugh.
Richard Pryor told America about homophobia too
but the laughs just kept on coming
Prior to Richard there were safe comics, doing
bits not taken from their own lives but when
Richard Pryor decided to out his inner demons
on American stages
they replied, “That N-word’s crazy” – they said
the full word back then, it would always
get an extra laugh (or two). Richard Pryor knew
that better than anyone else. (He knew most things
better than anyone else). Prior to being a comedian
Richard was a survivor. The whorehouse, the freebase,
Hollywood. He was always surviving – story of his
life before and after fame. But nothing numbed the
pain – not adulation, not adultery, not all of the drugs,
nor the spiritual awakening in Africa.
He knew Cosby was bad, he knew what Cosby was
hiding. He knew he was considered a lot worse for
not ever hiding a thing. Richard Pryor got his
biggest laugh when he lit a match and danced it
in front of his face – said it was the white folks
making jokes about his black ass.
Richard Pryor told America the jokes it wanted
to laugh at. Even if they weren’t supposed to laugh.