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Sunday, December 11, 2005

This Pryor Had Strong Convictions

    I Ain't Dead Yet, M*therf@ck%r!
That's the name of the all-star comic DVD tribute to the late Richard Pryor available for sale at his website http://www.richardpryor.com.
The funniest man in America passed away on Saturday, December 10. He was 65 years old. (Some may think the president holds the title, but actually he's the second funniest man in America.)

Richard Pryor was, in my estimation, a comic genius. I recall seeing him perform in the early years on television. This particular performance of his routine included Pryor's impression of the first man on the sun. At the time he was a young comedian the country was all fired up about the race to the moon. His impression was topical to say the least. It appeared to have been the result of improvisational work done in some smoky little comedy club in New York City's Greenwich Village. It was Pryor hopping up and down as though he had been given a hot-foot on both feet. It was hilarious. The man was brilliantly funny.

Another skill he had, for which he was awarded the first Mark Twain Prize for Humor, was the ability to make us laugh to reduce the hatred among the races and cultures in this American melting pot.

I agree with Bill Cosby. Today's comic performers should understand what Richard Pryor was about--study and admire his genius, before they glorify and embrace the language.(The phrase "often imitated never duplicated" seems to work here.) He used the language to make a point. It was used for emphasis. It was used because there are times when other words simply will not do to communicate as effectively as M*therf@ck%ng profanity.

Rest in peace, Richard. You will be missed, and long remembered for your artistic comedic contributions and achievements.

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