I have to say, it’s very sad news this weekend that comedian Richard Pryor has passed away. He was 65. I’ve been a fan of Pryor all my life, from his records and TV appearances, to his occasional movie. He was, of course, a pioneer and a groundbreaker in the world of comedy. More than all that, though, he was very funny. Just go back and look at his subtle and brilliant guest spots from The Ed Sullivan Show. In recent years, it’s been really hard to watch his health deteriorate, as he fell victim to multiple sclerosis. His body was failing and you hardly ever saw him in public anymore. It’s sad now, as he’s gone forever.
British comedian Lenny Henry offered his thoughts about the legacy of Richard Pryor, when speaking with the BBC:
“I listened to [his records] a lot and thought, ‘This guy’s brilliant – his finger’s on the pulse, he hates Richard Nixon, he talks about pimps, pushers, prostitutes, winos and junkies, he tells it like it is and he’s from the street.’ In the way that young comedians worship the preacher-like coruscating act of Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor did all that and more for me.”
You can get the full BBC piece here.