Friday Open Thread: Black Comedians Week – Richard Pryor

Today’s Comedian is the Legendary Richard Pryor.

richard pryor 1


Richard Pryor Biography
Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter (1940–2005)

Richard Pryor was a groundbreaking African-American comedian and one of the top entertainers of the 1970s and ’80s.


Richard Pryor was born on December 1, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois. A class clown in school and a community theater actor in his teens, Pryor became a successful stand-up comedian, television writer and movie actor, starring in films like Stir Crazy and Greased Lightning. Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986, but continued to perform for several more years. He died of a heart attack in 2005.

Early Comedy Career

Upon his return home, Pryor married Patricia Price in 1960. The couple had one child together before divorcing. After ending his marriage, Pryor pursued a career as an entertainer. He found work as a comic throughout the Midwest, playing African American clubs in such cities as East St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City. The following year, he made his television debut on the variety show On Broadway Tonight. More guest appearances followed on such shows as The Merv Griffin Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. At the time, his act was modeled after two African American comedians he admired, Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory.

By the late 1960s, Pryor had landed a few small parts on the big screen, appearing in The Busy Body (1967) and Wild in the Streets (1968). He also released his first self-titled comedy album around this time. Pryor even gave marriage another try—he wed Shelly Bonus in 1967. (The couple had one child together—a daughter named Elizabeth—before divorcing in 1969.)

Pryor toured extensively, doing his stand-up act. Playing Las Vegas, he served as Bobby Darin’s opening act at the Flamingo Hotel for a time. He reached an interesting career turning point while playing at the Aladdin in the late 1960s. Tired of the constraints and limitations on his material, Pryor walked off stage and took a break from stand up. He retreated to Berkeley, California, where he met a variety of counterculture figures, including Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton.

Mainstream Success

In the early 1970s, Pryor scored several successes as an actor and comedian. He earned positive reviews for his supporting role in the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues (1972) starring Diana Ross. In 1973, he netted his first Emmy Award nomination (outstanding writing achievement in comedy, variety) for his work on The Lily Tomlin Show. The following year, Pryor took home his first Emmy (best writing in comedy, variety) for another collaboration with Lily Tomlin: the comedy special Lily (1973). Pryor also wrote for such shows as The Flip Wilson Show and Sanford and Son, which starred comedian Redd Foxx.

richard pryor 2

Continuing to thrive professionally, Pryor worked with Mel Brooks on the screenplay for western spoof Blazin’ Saddles (1974). His own work was also attracting a lot of attention. Despite its X-rated content, his third comedy album sold extremely well and the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1974—a feat that he repeated over the next two years.

Comedy fans—of all racial backgrounds—were captivated by Pryor’s comedy, which consisted of situational and character-driven humor—not straightforward jokes. He poked fun at the white establishment and explored the racial divide. In one bit, Pryor describes how differently the horror film The Exorcist would have been if it had featured an African American family instead of a white one. Another routine about Muhammad Ali covered how white people never gave Ali enough credit as a fighter.

By the late 1970s, Pryor had a thriving career as an actor. He starred in the box office hit Silver Streak (1976) with Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh. Pryor went on to play the first African American stock car racing champion in Greased Lightning (1977) with Beau Bridges and Pam Grier.

richard pryor 3

This entry was posted in Black History, Comedy & Humor, Culture, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Friday Open Thread: Black Comedians Week – Richard Pryor

  1. rikyrah says:

    COMING SOON: Lifetime Prepping New Docu-Series — “BAPS” — On St. Louis’ Black Upper Crust

    Another day, another reality show. Does the Lifetime network have an upscale answer to the ratchet reality docu-series on the dial? Get the deets on “BAPS”, a new show about affluent Blacks in St. Louis….

    Are you ready for a group of African Americans who are chasing the American dream while maintaining a sense of decorum? Well, as much decorum as you can on a reality show?

    A new Lifetime docu-series called “BAPs” pulls back the curtain on an exclusive, privileged and affluent group of African-American friends from St. Louis who are self-proclaimed Black American Princesses and Princes. No, not extras from Halle Berry’s iconic (you know that ish was legendary) film of the same name.

    The series follows lifelong friends who are educated, sophisticated and believe being a BAP in today’s world is a birthright. The press release reads:

    “There is no shortage of conflict, humor and heart that comes along with being a part of this tight-knit clique, which includes, Anisha, Kristen, Gina, Jason, Riccarda and Brandon. Together, this group, whose dynamic can change from best friends to frenemies at the drop of a hat, attends St. Louis’ elite fashion shows, the symphony and charity events… but no occasion is conflict-free. Competing to be the most successful and most beautiful person in their circle is sure to bind and divide them, especially when Anisha’s boyfriend, Kendrick, and his niece, Rai-Rai are the anti-BAPs.”

    Does it sound appealing? We checked out the trailer and it looks pretty interesting. Is it time the world learns that Black folks come in shades other than “RHOA” and “LAHH”?

    Lifetime will be making the sneak pubic very soon….

  2. rikyrah says:

    Youth Flag Football Admin Claims Commish Spent League Fees On “Pussy”

    Below you’ll find an email from one of the administrators of an Atlanta-area youth flag football league sponsored by the NFL. Sent to a number of league parents, it contains a whole host of bizarre accusations against the commissioner. One of those parents shared it with us. Now we share it with you.

    The parent who forwarded it along said the league’s first season of existence was rocky, but overall a good experience. Then, out of the blue, the email. (The commissioner’s name has been redacted. To keep things straight, the administrator is female; the commissioner is male.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Today’s News: Our Take
    OWN to Air Maya Angelou’s Memorial Service
    Natalie Abrams
    Jun 6, 2014 05:00 PM ET
    by Natalie Abrams

    OWN will simulcast Maya Angelou’s memorial service on Saturday, the network announced Friday.

    The memorial service, which can be viewed here, will be held at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The simulcast will begin at 10 am ET/7am PT on Saturday.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Hero Teen Breaks High School Volunteer Record

    Eboni Stevenson, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, won an award recently for devoting more than 3,000 hours of her time to volunteer work – a new record.

    Her enthusiasm for helping other students and the community was sparked in middle school when she was paired with a mentor from the Metro Denver Partners.

    When she got older, she came back to the group as a peer leader, logging hours working with girls, and also on volunteer projects there, like the annual food drive.

    Eboni exceeded her school’s standard for community service by logging 3,840 volunteer hours. She will attend Colorado State University after graduation and is already planning a major in social work.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Obama To Endorse Elizabeth Warren’s Student Loan Proposal
    Posted: 06/06/2014 5:36 pm EDT

    President Barack Obama on Monday will throw his support behind a new proposal to dramatically revamp the federal student loan program, according to the White House.

    A bill proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would allow borrowers to potentially save thousands of dollars by giving them a chance to effectively pay off their high-rate existing loans in exchange for new loans that carry substantially lower interest rates.

    The Obama administration initially was hesitant to fully embrace the bill because of disagreements over how to pay for it. But with mounting pressure from advocacy groups, and with a renewed political focus on issues confronting working families, the president has softened his opposition. Obama’s endorsement would be the latest recognition to date of the ascendance of Warren-style populism within the Democratic Party.

    An administration official told The Huffington Post that Obama is expected to “call for passage of the refinancing bill” when it comes up for a vote, as it is scheduled to do next week.

    Student groups and other organizations focusing on younger Americans enthusiastically support Warren’s bill, under which new interest rates would range from 3.86 percent for loans taken out by borrowers when they were undergraduates to 6.41 percent for parents who took out loans for their children’s college tuition, as well as for borrowers who took out loans to pay for graduate school.

  6. rikyrah says:

    British D-Day vet ditches nursing home for secret trip to Normandy

    An 89-year old World War II veteran who was reported missing from a nursing home in England has been found in Normandy after traveling to attend D-Day commemorations, police said Friday.

    Bernard Jordan was last seen at The Pines home in Hove, southern England, on Thursday morning. Staff called police when he did not return that evening.

    Sussex Police said Friday that another veteran later called to say he and Jordan were at a hotel in Ouistreham, France. Officers also spoke to Jordan and determined he was fine.

    The force said Jordan left the home wearing his service medals and joined a group of veterans heading to France by bus.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Florida Girl, 8, Makes $10,000 in Booming Bakery Business

    The passionate young entrepreneur donates a portion of her proceeds to raising dyslexia awareness.

    By Patrice Peck

    Posted: 06/05/2014 04:30 PM EDT

    Between attending school, participating in extracurricular activities and completing her chores, 8-year-old Taylor Moxey, of Miami, has managed to run a successful baking business out of her parents’ home kitchen.

    “I think baking is mostly my passion,” she told Today. “You get to take your recipe and different people’s recipes and add different things to them.”

    Taylor’s Cookies and Cupcakes was born out of a simple idea proposed by her parents during a Sunday trip to Target. When her parents suggested that she come up with a way to raise money for a toy she had asked for, a cookie and brownie church sale came to Taylor’s mind. She went to work after receiving a $40 loan from her father, Vernon Moxey, and signing a business agreement drafted on a napkin.

    “Honestly, I didn’t think she would make $40 back,” her father told Today.

    Not only did Taylor reimburse the loan that same Sunday, but her baking skills soon advanced her from church bake sales to first place at a local cornbread competition in which she won first place over several adults. Her reputation as one of the area’s top bakers skyrocketed thanks to her big win, as well as the accompanying billboard.

    In addition to having garnered a well known clientele, including HGTV designer Bobby Berk and former Miami Heat player Joel Anthony, Taylor has earned nearly $10,000. Thirty percent of all proceeds go toward raising dyslexia awareness, a learning disorder that her father has.

    “If you have a platform and people can hear your voice, it’s important to use it for some good,” Moxey’s father said.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Sherlock, Season 3, is up for streaming on Netflix.

  9. rikyrah says:

    It’s true: Bowe Bergdahl wasn’t a ‘hero.’ So what?

    More and more Republicans are now finding themselves forced to explain their flip-flops on Bowe Bergdahl (here’s a rundown of some of their latest somersaults). Defenders of the Bergdahl swap are dismissing these GOP reversals as rooted in politics.

    But the problem actually goes deeper: It’s rooted in an unfortunate hero/traitor dichotomy that goes beyond politics, and has resulted in views of those who serve in the military that are overly simplistic and indeed have departed from reality.

    Some years ago, the country came to a collective realization that the people who fight in a war don’t bear personal responsibility for whether the war was a good idea in the first place. This was an immensely salutary development, one that led to the important acknowledgement of the risks that service members take on. The image of the military improved dramatically, and Americans began looking at those in uniform with new admiration. Service members couldn’t walk through an airport without a dozen people walking up to them to thank them for their service. That’s all good.

    But along with it came a devaluation of the idea of heroism. We began to regularly refer to any and all members of the military as “heroes,” without any regard to what they had or hadn’t done in their service. If we use the same term to refer to someone who risked his life to save his fellow soldiers in a valley in Afghanistan as we do for someone who effectively conducted data entry for personnel files at a base in North Carolina, “hero” has lost nearly all its meaning.

    Conservatives are up in arms over the fact that Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” before he was captured by the Taliban. But how many times have we heard that phrase? It’s become a meaningless throwaway line. These days, if a soldier managed not to frag his commanding officer and drive his Humvee off a cliff, we say he “served with honor and distinction.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Seshat @Yo_Bookie

    My homeboy said the Koch brothers giving to HBCUs is the equivalent of the drug dealers passing out turkeys once a year.

    • rikyrah says:

      Aaron Blake@AaronBlakeWP · 4h

      “United Negro College Fund… announced today that it has received a $25M grant from Koch Industries, Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation”

  11. rikyrah says:

    WW2: African Americans on D-Day 1

  12. rikyrah says:

    AfroGermans @BGCSinc
    D-Day, June 6th, 1944. The neglected story of African Americans on D-Day
    7:33 AM – 6 Jun 2014

  13. rikyrah says:


    WHO got rid of all the Public Sector jobs?


    Private Jobs Have Recovered. Government Jobs Still Lag.
    By DAVID LEONHARDT June 6, 2014

    The United States economy has finally exceeded its pre-recession employment peak, as many analysts of today’s jobs report have noted. But that milestone obscures two very different stories — in the private and public sectors. The public sector — federal, state and local government — still isn’t close to returning to its pre-recession employment levels.

    Private-sector employment first exceeded its pre-recession jobs peak a few months ago, in March. Last month, the (nonfarm) private sector included 0.5 percent more jobs than in December 2007, when the recession began. The public sector remains well below its employment peak.

    In fact, public-sector employment has barely begun to recover. It reached a recent low of 21.83 million jobs in December and now has 21.87 jobs. Many state and local governments cut jobs sharply to deal with budget deficits during the recession. The federal government also employs somewhat fewer people than it did in December 2007.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Joyce Carol OatesVerified account‏@JoyceCarolOates·
    Sad that class warfare in US so adroitly obscured by quasi-issues of “patriotism”–“religion”–“race”–“traditional/ family values.”

    • rikyrah says:

      A black person with weak credit is 50% more likely to have his mortgage application rejected than a white one

      Updated by Matthew Yglesias on June 5, 2014, 12:30 p.m. ET

      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are more likely to reject mortgage applications from black and Hispanic borrowers than from non-hispanic whites. That could be evidence of discrimination, or it could simply be a reflection of broader economic gaps in American society.

      And, indeed, as this Urban Institute chart shows the primary cause of the racial gap is a difference in credit quality. White families are more likely to get a loan because they’re more likely to be highly creditworthy:

      But if you look at the “weak applicants only” lines you’ll see that while the black-white gap is still pretty huge. White applications are rejected at a high rate, but black applications seem to be rejected at a fifty percent higher rate.

      That could be evidence of direct discrimination or it could be evidence that you need to peer deeper into the data to find an explanation.

  15. Ametia says:

    The Rude Pundit – In Brief:
    Time Magazine Really Shouldn’t Go Down This Road

    That’s really a question, Time (motto: “Instant Nostalgia”)? Was Bowe Bergdahl worthy of being swapped for five Taliban detainees? Or maybe was it “worth it” to make a deal to get an American soldier home? And it’s a question that lots and lots of people are asking, since, in the worst case, six other soldiers died on patrols that included looking for Bowe Bergdahl. But if we’re gonna go down the big ol’ “what if” highway, if we’re gonna ask if something that’s already done was worth the cost of doing it, well, shit, if we’re gonna play, let’s play:

    Was the Afghanistan War worth the loss of 2300 Americans, countless wounded, thousand of dead Afghanis, and hundreds of billions of dollars?

    Was the creation of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay worth the number of people who may have died because terrorists used Gitmo as a recruiting tool?

    Was it worth arming the Mujahideen back in the late 1970s and early 1980s so that their existence could lead to the formation of the Taliban (which was both part of and a reaction to the Mujahideen)?

    Was it worth electing Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, both of whom supported the Mujahideen?

    See, when you get into fucked-up existential questions like who is worth what, you can’t act like that worth is to be judged in a vacuum. Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity was the result of decades of bullshit American foreign policy. (Hell, if you want, you could go back to British imperialism in the land that would become Afghanistan.)

    Yeah, great, Time, let’s put a price on a human life, by all means. Let’s talk about “greater good” and utilitarian approaches to war. Or maybe we could acknowledge that such ideas are worthless when your are talking about a worthless venture in this worthless time.

  16. Ametia says:

    Richard Pryor was a GENIUS.

  17. Ametia says:

    Victims No More: Congo’s Badass Women Mechanics
    Nina Strochlic
    World News |06.06.14

    Girls in the devastated city of Goma, “the rape capital of the world,” are breaking stereotypes to find work—and independence—as car mechanics and carpenters.

  18. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, spoke today on the sidelines of a luncheon held for leaders as part of D-Day commemorations in France, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said.

    It was an informal conversation, not a formal bilateral meeting, Rhodes told reporters, adding that it lasted for 10 to 15 minutes.

    The two leaders are at loggerheads over Russia’s actions in Ukraine

  19. rikyrah says:

    BLS-Labor Statistics ✔ @BLS_gov

    Payroll employment rises by 217,000 in May; unemployment rate unchanged at 6.3% #JobsReport #BLSdata

    Now, what would it be if we didn’t have one political party that chose to commit ECONOMIC TREASON against this country beginning January 20, 2009?

  20. rikyrah says:

    BLS-Labor Statistics ✔ @BLS_gov

    Payroll employment rises by 217,000 in May; unemployment rate unchanged at 6.3% #JobsReport #BLSdata

  21. rikyrah says:

    President Obama’s Complete D-Day Address (June 6, 2014)

  22. rikyrah says:

    The Right’s Turn Away from Representative Government
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 5th, 2014 at 12:24:16 PM EST

    Of all the unhealthy developments in this country, I think the following is the most depressing:

    As partisan divisions solidify, the [Democratic] party’s electoral chances increasingly depend on turning out its core supporters—racial minorities, young voters and unmarried women, among others. That’s much of the reason for the big drop in the party’s recent performances in midterm cycles compared to presidential years.

    It’s a reality the GOP understands just as well—hence the party’s efforts to make voting harder. As DNC spokesman Mo Elleithee put it while speaking to reporters in March, Republicans “know that when the electorate is large, they lose, when the electorate is smaller, they win.”

    In announcing the Arbor Project, the Democrats are demonstrating their focus on increasing voter participation. This is certainly in their self-interest, but it’s also wholly consistent with traditional American values about both the right of everyone to vote and the importance of citizen involvement in politics. There is no corresponding effort to prevent likely Republican voters from registering to vote or to kick registered Republicans off the voter rolls.

    The Republicans have concluded, as Mo Elleithee said, that the path to electoral victory isn’t to craft the better campaign or come up with the most broadly appealing policies, but to control the shape of the electorate by making it smaller. This puts their entire political party at odds with the cherished ideals of representative government. It also has an inevitable racial component, since the best visual predictor of how someone will vote is the color of their skin.

    Part of this is explained by the fact that the GOP has a lot of rotten people in it, but I understand that if you are socially or fiscally conservative you want to have your views prevail, and you’ll begin to devalue other objectives like determining the true will of the people. If everything I cared about was at risk because my party couldn’t win elections, I might start to waver on this whole democracy thing, too.

    I understand that it’s easy to be for the broadest possible electorate when that clearly advances your political goals, and that it becomes hard when it doesn’t. But what’s so depressing about this is that this country has sorted itself into a political alignment where one party sees disenfranchisement and disengagement as their best hope.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    Pres. Obama said #DDay70 makes him miss his grandpa who fought in Patton’s Army. Female WWII Vet hugged him tight and held his face

    6:59 AM – 6 Jun 2014

  24. rikyrah says:

    All He Wanted For His Birthday Was To See His Dad: Military Father Surprises Son For His Birthday

  25. rikyrah says:

    Restaurateur, former model, B. Smith reveals Alzheimer’s battle

    NEW YORK — More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. There is no cure, and many patients suffer in silence. Now, a public figure has revealed to CBS News that she is one of them: B. Smith, the restaurant owner, designer and decorator.

    Asked what her Alzheimer’s diagnosis meant to her, B. said, “It meant something bad — really bad to me

    Barbara Smith was one of the first African-American models on the cover of Mademoiselle. In 1986, she opened her first B. Smith restaurant in New York City, and two more followed. She hosted a TV program, wrote books and was called the black Martha Stewart.

    Around four years ago, B. told her doctor about her symptoms before she told her husband and business partner of 22 years, Dan Gasby. Those problems — such as repeating things or not answering questions — became very serious.

    When B. spoke with CBS News, she could not recall the date, month or year.

    “Things like that make me very sad,” she said.

    Eventually, she saw a team of experts at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, including neurologist Dr. Martin Goldstein

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl

    JUNE 5, 2014

    Four months ago, Senator John McCain said he would support the exchange of five hard-core Taliban leaders for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “I would support,” he told CNN. “Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.”

    But the instant the Obama administration actually made that trade, Mr. McCain, as he has so often in the past, switched positions for maximum political advantage. “I would not have made this deal,” he said a few days ago. Suddenly the prisoner exchange is “troubling” and “poses a great threat” to service members. Hearings must be held, he said, and sharp questions asked.

    This hypocrisy now pervades the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and has even infected several fearful Democrats. When they could use Sergeant Bergdahl’s captivity as a cudgel against the administration, they eagerly did so, loudly and in great numbers. And the moment they could use his release to make President Obama look weak on terrorism or simply incompetent, they reversed direction without a moment’s hesitation to jump aboard the new bandwagon.

    The last few days have made clearer than ever that there is no action the Obama administration can take — not even the release of a possibly troubled American soldier from captivity — that cannot be used for political purposes by his opponents.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Brady sells SoCal mansion to Dr. Dre for $40M

    Rap legend Dr. Dre is the new owner of Tom Brady’s former home.

    The sale of the Brentwood, Calif., mansion for $40 million, which was first reported in May, became official Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The New England Patriots quarterback and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, purchased the property for $11.75 million in 2008 and built the 18,298-square-foot home — which includes such amenities as a gym, a sauna, a pool and seven fireplaces — over the ensuing four years

    Brady and Bundchen put the house on the market for an asking price of $50 million in March with the intention of living in the Boston area full-time. Their new 14,000-square-foot mansion in Brookline, Mass., currently is under construction, with completion expected by the end of the summer

  28. Yahtc says:

    “Transcript of Obama’s speech on 70th Anniversary of D-Day”

  29. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

Leave a Reply