Richard Pryor has died
December 10, 2005 1:14 PM   Subscribe

According to his official website, comedian Richard Pryor has died at the age of 65. More coverage at Fark and updates at Wikipedia.
posted by Saucy Intruder (168 comments total)

 
The richardpryor.com server is being hammered at the moment, but the update was posted by the website administrator and (despite Pryor's propensity to joke about his imminent demise) this appears to be the real thing.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:16 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by btwillig at 1:20 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Malor at 1:21 PM on December 10, 2005


He was one funny guy.
Rest in peace, dude.
posted by DemeterMaid at 1:23 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by keswick at 1:24 PM on December 10, 2005


. Watching it on the news right now.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:24 PM on December 10, 2005


Richard Pryor was the funniest, most brilliant, most scathing (and yet the most vulnerable and honest) comedian of all time.

Goodbye, you incredibly funny and insightful man.
posted by jonmc at 1:24 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by furtive at 1:24 PM on December 10, 2005


Genius gone.
posted by argybarg at 1:27 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by mert at 1:30 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Busithoth at 1:31 PM on December 10, 2005


Aw, shit.
posted by loquacious at 1:31 PM on December 10, 2005


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Have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up.

I know it was Eddie Murphy, but still, it captures Richard.
posted by papakwanz at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by wheelieman at 1:33 PM on December 10, 2005


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Loved him and his work.
posted by bjgeiger at 1:34 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Elmore at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by minkll at 1:38 PM on December 10, 2005


. motherfucker
with all respect
posted by JMOZ at 1:39 PM on December 10, 2005


Pryor's line to the police guy at the end of "Silver Streak:

"It's been a shattering experience, cap'n, and I just wanna go home."
posted by rdone at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2005


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A great Peorian. Too bad they couldn't even name a back alley street after him without controversy.
posted by sbutler at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Sticherbeast at 1:44 PM on December 10, 2005


"Police in L.A., man, they got a chokehold they use on motherfuckers. Do they do it here, do they choke you to death? (Voices from the audience, many voices from the audience: `Yeah!') That's some weird shit. Cause I didn't know it was a death penalty to have a parking ticket."

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posted by selfnoise at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2005


AP obituary
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2005


damn.

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posted by scody at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2005


I was just watching See No Evil, Hear No Evil yesterday, and wondered, "Richard Pryor... is he still alive?" Weirdly prescient and sad.
posted by painquale at 1:47 PM on December 10, 2005


fuck.

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posted by birdherder at 1:47 PM on December 10, 2005


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His bit about The Exorcist never fails to crack me up. "Now get that cross out ya' pussy!"

To quote Robert Christgau's review of the ...And It's Deep, Too! box: "These albums comprise a great body of performed literature...."
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2005


cocksucker.
posted by anthill at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:51 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by brundlefly at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2005


Ahh. Considering he's been in poor health for some time, it shouldn't be surprising, but still.

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posted by Space Kitty at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by I Foody at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2005


hope he went out fuckin
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posted by cl at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2005


Eulogy, by Richard Pryor (from ...Is It Somethin' I said? album)


"The ultimate test is...whether or not you can survive death. That's the ultimate test for your ass, ain't it? So far, don't nobody we know, have passed the ultimate test. Least of all this nigga layin' here. Cause this boy wasn't shit, I'm a tell ya that much right off. I saw him kickin' his momma's ass over there on 47th. And if you think we gonna bury you with those diamonds and shit on, you got another thing comin'."
posted by slow, man at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2005


seeing a true genius of comedy like Pryor all fucked up with his illness was off-the-charts sad -- that nuclear bomb of a man, full of rage and humor, spending years and years unable to speak and move. that was bitter irony of a punishment worthy of a Bowles story or a Pinter play.
"I'd like to die like my father died. My father died fucking. My father was 57 when he died. The woman was 18. My father came and went at the same time."

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posted by matteo at 2:05 PM on December 10, 2005


anyone who can survive a crack fire should be able to live forever
posted by cellphone at 2:06 PM on December 10, 2005


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One of the most enduring memories I have of Pryor is him--post burns damage being attacked by Rod Hull and Emu on the Johnny Carson show. Story
posted by Navek Rednam at 2:08 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by eriko at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2005


Damn. Pryor could handle a crowd like no one else. Just ... damn. He was the best.
posted by milquetoast at 2:14 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Mikey-San at 2:15 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by nevafeva at 2:16 PM on December 10, 2005


Oh. Fuck.

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I hope there were no squirrels around...
posted by Skygazer at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2005


Village Voice:
His most famous monologue recounts a suicide attempt by self-immolation, an act so unspeakable that conventional wisdom has chosen to record it as a freebasing accident. "Have you ever heard of a motherfucker burning up freebasing other than me?" he asks.
posted by pracowity at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by shmegegge at 2:30 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by tristeza at 2:33 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Radio7 at 2:33 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Edible Energy at 2:35 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by black8 at 2:35 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by slimepuppy at 2:38 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by ozomatli at 2:40 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by karson at 2:42 PM on December 10, 2005


RIP.
posted by VanRoosta at 2:44 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by SteveTheRed at 2:46 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by kyleg at 2:49 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by lord_wolf at 2:53 PM on December 10, 2005


More coverage at Fark

Now that's something you don't read every day.
posted by clevershark at 2:59 PM on December 10, 2005


"Sick of hearing this shit about me not talking... not true... good days, bad days... but I still am a talkin' motherfucker!"
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posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:59 PM on December 10, 2005


Pryor was source of my favorite drug joke ever:

"When I did cocaine, I felt like a new man.
And he wanted some too."
posted by digaman at 3:02 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Hat Maui at 3:06 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by nola at 3:07 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by kjh at 3:10 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by raysmj at 3:11 PM on December 10, 2005


When I was growing up the only thing everyone could agree on was that Richard Pryor was the funniest man on earth.
posted by dglynn at 3:12 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by kosher_jenny at 3:16 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by fenriq at 3:23 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 3:25 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by sour cream at 3:25 PM on December 10, 2005


The Toy is back in the box...

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posted by benzo8 at 3:29 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by stinkycheese at 3:30 PM on December 10, 2005


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Funniest fucking comedian on earth. I once spent a summer vacation listening to all this monologues (a boxed set my father owned), and I suspect it's changed me forever.
posted by kalimac at 3:31 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by melissa may at 3:31 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by jenovus at 3:33 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:34 PM on December 10, 2005


Oddly, this morning I was wondering whatever had happened to him and looked him up on that very Wikipedia page, where I first learned he had MS. And five minutes ago I just heard he was dead.
posted by alumshubby at 3:36 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by jlkr at 3:38 PM on December 10, 2005


And don't forget to vote for None of the Above.

RIP
posted by evilcolonel at 3:45 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by zarah at 3:46 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by deemer at 3:47 PM on December 10, 2005


"That's right, that's right [he] bad"

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posted by terrapin at 3:52 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by mkhall at 3:52 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Stynxno at 3:55 PM on December 10, 2005


His appearance in Wattstax was searing.

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posted by intermod at 3:57 PM on December 10, 2005


as a teen saw an old 16mm film of stand-up he did in the early days - the topic: how Richard Pryor became addicted to cocksucking - amazing...I've never seen anything like before or since - all decent stand-ups working today owe him big time
posted by jettloe at 3:59 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by amberglow at 4:00 PM on December 10, 2005


He taught me how to swear. Mother. Fucker.

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posted by quin at 4:15 PM on December 10, 2005


"Doctor, I need to know one thing. What the fuck is MS?"

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posted by ScottMorris at 4:25 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by mrducts at 4:30 PM on December 10, 2005


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Lots of childhood comedy memories were courtesy of Richard Pryor. All the best, sir.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:33 PM on December 10, 2005


Two links:

Transcript of the classic SNL skit with Chevy Chase "Racist Word Association Interview" which reminds us all (if we need to be reminded) how ridiculously tame SNL is now.

Buzznet gallery of 75+ Richard Pryor photos (somewhat of a self-link since I work there)
posted by tsarfan at 4:37 PM on December 10, 2005


aww man ...
posted by 31d1 at 4:39 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by squirrely at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2005


Richard Pryor is dead and yet Carrot Top lives on.

Life's not fair.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 4:50 PM on December 10, 2005


Oh, it's worse than that, Dipsomaniac. Gallagher has a box set out.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:05 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by rxreed at 5:06 PM on December 10, 2005


Gallagher has a box set out.

Watermelon farmers the world over are rejoicing.
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on December 10, 2005


About 80% the comics around today owe him and the first generation of his followers their careers - one of the original kings of comedy.
posted by jedrek at 5:11 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by LeeJay at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2005


I was just discussing my Top 10 favorite comedians and he was...is definitely on the list.

"Justice in the courts? Yeah, there's justice in the courts...just us niggers!"

Thank you, Richard.
posted by jaronson at 5:49 PM on December 10, 2005


Richard Pryor: "Everyone carries around his own monsters..."

Indeed we do, Richard, but damn, you could make us laugh at them. Godspeed to your eternity of choice. Thanks for all the good times.
posted by dejah420 at 6:02 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by jlbartosa at 6:11 PM on December 10, 2005


Wow.

Another smile gone.

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posted by Samizdata at 6:12 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by fullysic at 6:14 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by fixedgear at 6:15 PM on December 10, 2005


There is only one word...Damn!
posted by SweetIceT at 6:18 PM on December 10, 2005


*cues Joe Henry's "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation"*

Sometimes I think I've almost fooled myself
Sometimes I think I've almost fooled myself--
Spreading out my wings
Above us like a tree,
Laughing now, out loud
Almost like I was free

I look at you as the thing I wanted most
You look at me and it's like you've seen a ghost
I wear the face
Of all this has cost:
Everything you tried to keep away from me,
Everything I took from you and lost

Lights shine above me, they're like your eyes above the street
Lights shine below me, they're like stars beneath my feet
I stood on your shoulders
And I walked on my hands,
You watched me while I tried to fall
You can't bear to watch me land

Take me away, carry me like a dove
Take me away, carry me like a dove
Love me like you're lying
Let me feel you near,
Remember me for trying
And excuse me while I disappear

*lets record continue spinning on turntable*

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posted by allaboutgeorge at 6:25 PM on December 10, 2005


. . .

ain't dead yet mother fucker!

rip.
posted by cjdavis at 6:26 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by geekyguy at 6:35 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by moonbird at 6:36 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by tresbizzare at 6:39 PM on December 10, 2005


One of the worst whippings I got as a child was from repeating Richard Pryor jokes in front of my parents and grandparents. My mom now tells me that as soon as I was sent up to my room, they all fell out laughing and couldn't stop.

I loved watching him in "The Wiz." One of the only great things about that movie. And "The Toy" was filmed in Baton Rouge when I was a kid. It was one of the first movies I owned on VHS.
posted by ColdChef at 6:42 PM on December 10, 2005


You're not allowed to die, motherfucker. Somebody put a stick up his ass and prop him up.

Goddammit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:44 PM on December 10, 2005


Do you think they'll let him into the White Heaven?
posted by Kwanzaar at 7:05 PM on December 10, 2005


*cues up Lawrence Welk*
posted by jonmc at 7:12 PM on December 10, 2005


I appreciate the value of many of the great figures of our times, and am saddened by their passing. But this is different. When I heard this on the radio early this evening, I immediately said what I wished this comment would've been succint enough to have remained:

Aw, FUCK!!!
posted by soyjoy at 7:12 PM on December 10, 2005


Funny guy, hell of a life. Given his lifestyle and the tragic affliction, it's nearly miraculous that he lived to 65, but it's very cool that he did.

RIP.
posted by davidmsc at 7:15 PM on December 10, 2005


The true King Of Comedy.

Rest In Peace Rich.
posted by Duncan at 7:27 PM on December 10, 2005


When my boyfriend worked at a record store, his favorite activity was calling them up when he was off, pretending he was a customer, and asking whoever answered the phone to list off all the Richard Pryor albums in stock. If they mumbled, he requested them to speak up.
posted by piratebowling at 7:29 PM on December 10, 2005


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Hope you wake up in the right heaven this time.
posted by Ndwright at 7:32 PM on December 10, 2005


Oh, and of course, an obligatory:

motherfucker
posted by Ndwright at 7:33 PM on December 10, 2005


RIP, Richard. Motherfucker.

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posted by yhbc at 7:35 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by deborah at 7:38 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:01 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by prostyle at 8:09 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by ed at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Mijo Bijo at 8:34 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by cjdavis at 8:39 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 8:40 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by edgeways at 8:55 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Mr Bluesky at 9:02 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by RavinDave at 9:25 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by any major dude at 9:34 PM on December 10, 2005


Damn.
posted by Dreama at 9:34 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by trip and a half at 9:54 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by Demogorgon at 9:54 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by farishta at 10:34 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by tgyg at 10:51 PM on December 10, 2005


thank you and peace
posted by paradise at 10:55 PM on December 10, 2005


crap

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posted by ScotchLynx at 11:42 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by UseyurBrain at 11:50 PM on December 10, 2005


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posted by greycap at 12:31 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by Loudmax at 1:16 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by zardoz at 3:06 AM on December 11, 2005


Abrasive, yes. Caustic, yes. Honest, yes. Genius, yes. You gave me the language skills I needed to play golf with old white assholes and not sound like a little church girl. Thank you.

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Is there any happening today that even remotely compares to the comedians and ensembles that came into notoriety in the '70s?
posted by michswiss at 3:23 AM on December 11, 2005


We're short one funny motherfucker.

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posted by mrbill at 3:30 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by Pendragon at 3:35 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by Grangousier at 4:03 AM on December 11, 2005


R.I.P. to, as comedian Paul Mooney so adequately introduced him once:

"The two most beautiful words in the English language."
posted by deusdiabolus at 4:49 AM on December 11, 2005


Bugger.
posted by MrMustard at 5:04 AM on December 11, 2005


A classic


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posted by fluffycreature at 5:20 AM on December 11, 2005


He could say the most vile things and somehow it didn't seem obscene.

During one of his taped perfmances he spent about 15 minutes inhabiting the character of a heroin junkie from his old neighborhood. The audience started getting restless, because as incredibly powerful as it was, it wasn't funny. Of course, he didn't let the audience's discomfort dissuade him from finishing the "skit". It's one of the most poignant things I've ever seen.
posted by Devils Slide at 6:11 AM on December 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


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posted by TheDonF at 7:08 AM on December 11, 2005


I've heard more than a few comedians refer to the Holy Trinity of Comedy. Pryor, Carlin and...shit. I can't remember. Was it Lenny Bruce in the third slot? 'Cause if it is then we're down to just one left. Damn.

*bumps up Pryor DVD's in his N*tflix cue*
posted by Cyrano at 7:35 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by stumcg at 7:48 AM on December 11, 2005


painquale: I was just watching See No Evil, Hear No Evil yesterday, and wondered, "Richard Pryor... is he still alive?" Weirdly prescient and sad.

That was a question that would come up in conversation every so often. Sometimes I wasn't sure, though I tended to lean toward the side of "alive".

I knew he'd been sick for a long time, but I still gasped when I saw this thread :O

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posted by May Kasahara at 7:52 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by effwerd at 8:10 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by Smedleyman at 8:33 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by purephase at 9:46 AM on December 11, 2005


Richard Pryor tore down the tame, non-transgressive brand of comic performance in favour of an honest radical style, powered by rage against injustice and wilful indifference towards popular sensibilities. His death is a great loss, especially because in an age of comforting, non-confrontational comedy on one hand and tired Agitprop on the other his Chaucerian brand of rageful poetry has few practitioners. Richard Pryor cannot be replaced and his passing is all the more sad because our culture no longer lets such genuine mavericks have a wide hearing. RIP to another hero of mine...
posted by The Salaryman at 10:34 AM on December 11, 2005


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posted by LinusMines at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2005


A friend passed on a great little story when he found out last night. Here it is (names changed):

"The news just came in that Richard Pryor died at his home today, and I wanted to pay our respects to one of our favorite comedians. The Richard Pryor box set is the only comedy box set I've ever bought and probably the only one I ever will buy. His little kid voice was the funniest thing ever, no matter what it was saying. So, I'd like to eulogize the man with a story. And that story is the story of the time Richard Pryor tried to fuck my mom.

"Sometime in the 1970s, my mother (humorist, screenwriter, author, etc.), Richard Pryor and about eight other notables sat at dinner at some posh Upper East Side feedbag. My mother and Pryor had never met before and were briefly introduced and exchanged about 3 words when in the middle of dinner, while someone else is talking, he looks at her from across the table and mouths the words "do you want to fuck" at which point my mother doubles over in laughter.

"'It was absolutely the most ridiculous pass at me that anyone had ever made,' my mother tells me. However, it must have worked sometimes because for him to try such a ridiculous pass without it ever working would be even more ludicrous than the pass itself. Anyways, my mom regained her composure, they finished up dinner and she never saw him again. Then the next day, one of her friends called her to tell her that apparently another woman at the table, a very famous woman whose name I am not at liberty to say (who was apparently Richard Pryor's second choice; my mom was pretty hot) did not find his pass so ludicrous. In fact she found it SO unludicrous that she retreated back to his suite at the plaza hotel with him and when they were done decided to troll the city in search of drugs.

"So, they threw on their clothes and piled into his limosine and went to some nightclub in the west forties and our funny friend told the lady to stay inside the limo while he went in to score some drugs. After about 40 minutes of waiting in the limo, she went inside the club to see what was going on and found Richard Pryor sitting flirting with some girl at the club and when she approached him he said "go home, you honky bitch!" However, for reasons which baffle both my mother and I she got in the limo and went back to Pryor's suite in the Plaza (the only reason I can think of is that it was probably a nice suite. After all, it's the Plaza.) and goes to sleep. A few hours later, Pryor rolled into his suite with yet another woman and had sex with her on the floor while our dejected heroine slept in the bed, or pretended to sleep. And that's my Richard Pryor story. Play-uh!

"Anyways, that aside Richard Pryor was a great artist and he will be missed. Rest in peace, dude."

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posted by carsonb at 1:57 PM on December 11, 2005


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posted by verisimilitude at 2:37 PM on December 11, 2005


He was one of my heroes. Lily Tomlin said about him in a New Yorker profile by Hilton Als: "We just loved Richard. He was the only one who could move you to tears. No one was funnier, dearer, darker, heavier, stronger, more radical. He was everything. And his humanity was just glorious."
posted by goofyfoot at 2:53 PM on December 11, 2005


Motherfucker. RIP.

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posted by metaxa at 4:10 PM on December 11, 2005


Even more poignant when you consider one of his last postings on his own messageboard.
posted by metaxa at 4:26 PM on December 11, 2005


They aired the last moments of the word association skit on SNL last night, in tribute. (Hard to believe that the skit aired almost 30 years ago to the day.) It pointed out just how powerful Pryor and his delivery were, and how few can come close to it.
posted by Dreama at 5:49 PM on December 11, 2005


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posted by slixtream at 5:10 AM on December 12, 2005


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posted by cass at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2005


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