Richard Pryor: True Stories And Famous Jokes Of A Legend

By | November 30, 2019

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Comedian Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005) performing on stage at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, Illinois, July 28, 1978. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Richard Pryor was one of the great standup comedians of the '70s and '80s, his raw and risque style serving as an inspiration for many who followed. Pryor's comedy was often based on his real life, stories and jokes that nobody could tell in quite the same way. Every comic that came before him was rendered obsolete and everything after him was changed forever. His comedy was both for the intelligensia and those of us who preferred the basest of humor. His over the top stories about drugs and alcohol blended perfectly with his trenchant critiques of society. All of Pryor’s work, regardless of the subject, came from a sensitive and beautiful place. He was responsible for some of the most important pieces of comedy of the ‘70s, and in spite of his demons he brought joy to his audience whenever he took the stage. 

Seeing Dean Martin in his audience made Pryor change his act

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source: npr

Before Pryor adopted his real deal style of comedy he was more of a clean cut comedian who modeled his style after Bill Cosby. It was miles away from his in your face persona that pulled from his real life and was much more family friendly, and was meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Things changed for Pryor while he was performing in Las Vegas and realized that he didn’t want to keep censoring himself. He abruptly walked off stage and stopped performing for a few years while he worked on a new act and found himself. When he returned to the stage he had an iconic new style.