…And It’s Deep Too!
Richard Pryor died today at age 65. I hate to see him go, but I'm also glad he doesn't have to suffer with multiple sclerosis anymore.
The guy was masterfully funny. Like every other kid, I hid his albums and tapes from my parents, and then snuck them out for a listen when they weren't around. I remember taking those tapes everywhere. He was just so damn funny that your gut would hurt from laughing. I can't think of anyone else who could consistently provoke that kind of reaction from people.
Pryor broke down a lot of doors. People accused him of being the most foul-mouthed comedian of his time. So what? He recognized that words really aren't that dangerous if you don't hide them away. People were shocked by the things he said, but he said them to break down the power of those words and find humor in truth.
No one else found a way to take their own tragedies and turn them into humor. Whether it was drug abuse, shooting his car with a magnum, or getting burned alive, Pryor made his audiences laugh with him without feeling pity.
Tonight, Sirius Radio channel 104 is playing a tribute to Richard Pryor. I decided it'd been long enough since I heard his voice. Despite having bought all of those old albums and tapes before, I went out to Best Buy and bought the last box set of “Richard Pryor: …And It's Deep Too!” tonight. I'm sitting here loading them onto my iPod as I write.
At least Richard knew people truly cared about him, saying “I live in racist America and I'm uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it. You can't do much better than that.”