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ValerieB

Richard Pryor Has Left Us

70 posts in this topic

Crouch is clearly an asshole, clearly. speaking of raison d'etres. what would you write about on this board if you weren't writing about Bush, Condasleeza, etc?? Jazz? :P

It is a matter of priorities, Conrad. I write about Bush and the Sleeza because they pose a current threat to our country and other parts of the world--I don't know if you have been following the news for the past 3 years, but they are sending thousands of young people to their death, dimming the futures of Americans (young and old), and--in general--making life miserable for millions of people who have not the means to withstand their faux-Christian crusade. These are also the people whose ineptitude and callous class discrimination is making many Iraqis long for the return of a brutal dictator. You should check it out.

Once they have been de-fanged, I will refocus on jazz and more pleasant subjects.

Now, was that so hard to understand?

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Careful, chaps. This is going to go the way of the Tookie thread.

:ph34r:

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A Very Touching Tribute from Richard's Daughter, Rain

(i believe this was written before he passed)

++++++++++++++++

My Daddy

It's not often in the world that one can say, "my daddy is the comic genius Richard Pryor." It's not often that one can say, "if I had a dime for every time I heard how my Dad made them laugh so hard they almost wet their pants. I'd be a millionaire." And it certainly, is not often that one gets to say aloud how much they admire and love their Dad. But I do.

Daddy, may not have been the Cosby, Mr. Cleaver type, dad. In fact sometimes I would say he was more like Ozzy Osbourne on a good day. But, he is my Daddy and there was no one like him. I remember I would sit in complete amazement watching him perform as a child. There he would be surrounded by three thousand people, each one laughing so hard that they would rock back and forth, back and forth in their seats. Everyone wanted to be near him. I wanted to be near him, and when I was it was pure magic.

I spent most every Christmas vacation and one month in the summer with him. Sometimes, my half brother Richard Jr. and my half sister Elizabeth would be there. My father would always plan these amazing trips. Once we flew first class on the Concord to Paris where we stayed at the George Sanc Hotel, where I lost my favorite Teddy bear. So, Daddy went out and got me a brand new one. The only thing, it wasn't a Teddy bear. It was a doll that looked just like Dad's Aunt Maxine , full figured with red Afro and a hat. I still have that doll. Then it was off to London where we waited out side Queen Elizabeth's castle to see if she would give us a wave.

Daddy's favorite place to vacation was Hana Maui, Hawaii. Hana was the one place he could be his authentic self. During the early eighties Hana was still untouched by the hands of progressive developers and had great fishing. Daddy loved fishing and the tranquil, lush, volcanic paradise landscape with it's ocean symphonies that calmed his creative soul and made him almost childlike again.

Sometimes, he would take me fishing with him and there I would sit quiet as a mouse in an over sized raincoat and boots, with the tingle of salt from the ocean gently spraying my face. We would sit and he would say, "Tug on the line gently now. Not too hard. You got to make the fish think that's a little fish on the end of that line."

"Why?" , I asked .

"Cause fish are stupid. ... that's why." He said as we laughed and laughed.

Christmas in Hana was also a special time. Daddy would make sure that the tree was up and fully decorated before we got there. Sometimes we could add our own touches to the tree. The night of Christmas eve we would have a luau and eat fresh roasted pork, poi and Elizabeth and I would sing the Huki-lau song as we danced the hula.

The next morning we would wake up to sounds of Santa Clause and rush out into the living room only to find., a tree surrounded by presents. Daddy swore it was really Santa himself who put those presents there ,and we would have seen him if we ran out in time. Without fail Elizabeth and I would get the same gifts only different colors. Dad would tell us that Santa did this so we wouldn't fight over who got what. Boy could he make magic happen.

Back in California dad would come to all my little shows and even my graduation. It was always a big surprise when he came because with his life, being what it was you never knew if he would be able to make it. He tried though and I love him for that.

It's hard to be a comic genius and a father at the same time. On many occasions I took a back seat to his life. And yes there were the not so good times. The drugs and having to witness his abuses against women. It was hard to understand this duality and to understand that he was not whole unless he was on a stage. My daddy spent many years fighting demons that only he could battle.

Daddy was very open with his trials in life and it was his willingness to bare all that made him so vulnerable. His gift allowed the world into his life; sometimes dark, yet, he still found a way to make us laugh.

When daddy found out he had Multiple Sclerosis his life slowed down enough to let me in . We cried together and mended and healed the old wounds that lingered in the not so distant past. I participated in his therapies asked questions of the doctors and learned about MS.

It was I, who his assistants, girlfriends, caretakers would call to come to my father side. And there I would be to hold his hand to let him know it was going to be okay. To lift him in and out of his wheelchair. Sometimes it was easy , sometimes it was hard. Sometimes his moods would change and he'd want everyone out, even me.

No one around my father understood what MS was and the effects it would have on him. That his moods would change from one moment to the next. That he would tire easily and sometimes not be able to move or have the energy to speak. Those who surrounded him accused him of being stubborn, uncooperative. Accused him of partying to much the night before. Their patience sometimes wore thin and my dad would become fatigued trying to defend himself. The cycle would go on for years.

But between those moments was a man that I called daddy. A man who told me if anything should ever happen to him, he loved his children very much. He said, "If I could do one thing over; it would be to be a better father at times." I believe in my soul he truly meant that.

As Multiple Sclerosis slowly over took dad's mobility, and took a way the silent roar that was his voice he developed a new way to communicate. He would blow kisses and make little sounds that the entire world could hear if they were listening. His eyes would light up with joy when ever he saw his children and grandchildren. He laughed at our jokes and gave us permission to tell his. Sometimes he would say, "Love you baby" with all his strength. We would communicate without words and understand everything. I think only children have that with their parents.

Multiple Sclerosis has not beaten my father . His soul is still as strong as ever. And there is a cure out there if we dig deep enough.

Daddy taught me to tell the truth. And I made a promise to him that I would honor him by telling the truth and making sure he knew his children loved him. There will be few that try and take away our special memories, few that will try and break down the bond that was formed before his MS. But, they will never be able to take away his legacy which each of his children no matter how different we are will take with us.

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Richard Pryor's world was filled

with prostitutes, pimps, winos and

those others of undesirable ilk.

So is jazz.

Maybe that's what explains Stanley's current attitudes: he can't stand to share "his" music with those of such "ilk." <_<

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Richard Pryor's world was filled

with prostitutes, pimps, winos and

those others of undesirable ilk.

So is jazz.

Maybe that's what explains Stanley's current attitudes: he can't stand to share "his" music with those of such "ilk." <_<

stanley crouch gets my vote for "undesirable ilk for 2005"! ;)

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Richard Pryor's world was filled

with prostitutes, pimps, winos and

those others of undesirable ilk.

So is jazz.

Maybe that's what explains Stanley's current attitudes: he can't stand to share "his" music with those of such "ilk." <_<

stanley crouch gets my vote for "undesirable ilk for 2005"! ;)

:tup:tup:tup

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"Elegy for a black antihero

by Erin Aubry Kaplan"

(L.A. Times, 12/14/05)

"Richard Pryor deepened the story of American blacks. He made it grand. And he did it by being himself."

"One of the few things I remember vividly about being in the 8th grade in 1975 was a class art project. Everybody had to design a cardboard record album cover. -- album covers were certainly high art at the time -- that the teacher later displayed on shelves that lined the walls of our classroom.

"The project that leaped out at me was one student's rendition of Richard Pryor's record, 'That Nigger's Crazy.' It was painted somewhat crudely in bright orange, with a rough portrait of Pryor pointing a finger (or a gun?) at his head, and it startled me because of its language and because of the fact that it was the only non-music album up there.

"But it also looked comfortable among the many concept albums on the wall, including Elton John's 'Captain Fantastic' and David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust,' because 'That Nigger's Crazy,' like most other Pryor works was a concept album, a distinct narrative that happened to draw on real-life characters instead of metaphorical 'Brown Dirt Cowboys' or 'Thin White Dukes' to illuminate many facets of a single grand story.

"And though, at 13, I didn't undertand Pryor's full impact, I nonetheless felt a vague pride that Pryor was out there painting the story of black people, our people, in entirely new comic shades: self-doubt, self-loathing, pain, uncertainty, despair. With his foul-mouthed, unsentimental winos and junkies, he was adding a whole new dimension of ambiguity that we typically hid behind grins or double entendres or stoicism rooted in suffering and slavery and in never getting enough.

"No more. Pryor put everything out in the open, and not with disdain or regret but with a kind of wonder at the revelation of it all. Not everyone black liked what they heard, but there was no question that in describing our smallest, most common tableaux so faithfully, on his own terms, he was deepening our story. He was making it grand.

"Pryor did this, paradoxically, by being himself. Sounds simple, but in the black performance tradition, it hardly existed. Black performers, comedians especially, had not previously portrayed individuals but had acted as symbols of what the public wanted or expected black people to be. For whites, that meant they were strictly entertainers -- the merrier the better -- and for blacks always eager for escapism, it often meant that too.

"Pryor eliminated all the cultural schizophrenia by turning things around and demanding that everybody accept him -- the first black antihero. Of course, all blacks were antiheroic by definition and social position, but it was Pryor who elevated that position into something tragicomic and meaningful, something as improbably poetic and resonant as T.S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock.

"Pryor onstage (and frequently in life) was a man fighting the world and losing, a man without particularly good looks or snappy comebacks or the traditional carapace of black cool developed by bebop jazzmen and inherited by comics such as Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby and, later, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. Pryor rocked the comedy world by being plenty angry, but he also was hapless, at sea.

"Yet he was no fool. He was an observer above all else, a performer much less concerned with his own image -- another black first -- than with the accuracy of the images he wrought of other black folk and of other folk as well.

"He was our Chaplin, the comic who could first unite us in laughter at his own physicality, then unite us in recognition of ourselves. Some of these selves were none too flattering -- Pryor's approximation of clueless white people was flatout wicked -- but they were rendered with enough empathy in the end to keep us looking into the mirror and acknowledging the truths there. We were all part of Pryor's story, and we wanted to see where we fit in.

"But like many other black trailblazers, Pryor started a revolution that he didn't quite live himself. Other writers have pointed out that for all the success it afforded him, Hollywood was much more enamored of Pryor's comedy than his pathos; for whatever reason, he never developed opportunities for dramatic or reflective film roles that seemed a natural progression for storytelling stand-ups such as Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Eric Bogosian, John Leguizamo.

"Ultimately, Pryor had to rely on comedy to contain all that he had to say, including this lament by the distraught wino about the young junkie: 'He used to be a genius. Now he can't remember who he is.' Let us hope that the devastating but humanizing lessons of Richard Pryor are never forgotten."

Amen! And thank God, there are voices and perspectives being heard, other than Crouch's!

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Wow. Thanks for posting that, Valerie.

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One of my favorite Pryor moments came when he was being interviewed by the world's most asinine TV hostess, Barbara Walters.

Walters: There is a word you use and I don't understand why. Its very difficult for me to say. Uh, (lowers voice), nigger.

Pryor: Oh, you say it very well--sounds like you've said it before!

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One of my favorite Pryor moments came when he was being interviewed by the world's most asinine TV hostess, Barbara Walters.

Walters: There is a word you use and I don't understand why. Its very difficult for me to say. Uh, (lowers voice), nigger.

Pryor: Oh, you say it very well--sounds like you've said it before!

:rofl:

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I actually thought the Crouch piece included in this thread was a good one in discussing the ambiguities presented by Pryor's humor.

Guy

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All comics who draw on 'life experience' to fuel their humour will have those same ambigiuties- contradictions even- in their work. That's the nature of putting painful, honest truth out there and making it funny. The same could be said for Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks or Woody Allen or Chaplin. That's the nature of the genre. For a black American during that time period, those ambiguities and contradictions will seem even more acute. Ain't nothing funny about comedy.

What's interesting about Crouch's piece is his responses to all of that, filtered through that black conservative guilt thing he has going on. Richard Pryor was great, he seems to be saying, but I'm uneasy about feeling that way. That says more about Crouch's own ambiguities and contradictions than it says about Pryor's.

And that last sentence is simply waffle. Any third rate hack with five minutes on his hands could do better than that.

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Rosco nails it.

BTW, perhaps I am wrong, but it occurred to me that comics of the raw, biting, in-your-face variety that Lenny Bruce, Richard, and Carlin were might be uniquely American. I have great admiration and respect for British comedians (have also worked with Kenneth's Williams and Horne, Marty Feldman, and others), but their approach is very different. The Goon Show and Monty Python had me roaring with laughter, as does the current Little Britain--sometimes outrageous social commentary, to be sure, but still more polite.

Can anyone think of a non-American comic who has taken it as far over the fence of acceptability as the ones I mentioned?

I should add that I am in some agreement with Stanley C. when it comes to not finding humorous the "comedy" that relies solely on four-letter shock value--Def Jam, etc. What with women being "in trouble" rather than pregnant, and people being stricken with "the big C," American were conditioned to veiling reality. U.S. audiences went for decades without hearing such words uttered publicly by performers, so they continue to shocked into nervous giggles when they do. My European upbringing has allowed me to see this from both sides and I recall us (Danes) thinking how sexual repression had created the "panty raids," and how it was unthinkable that such nonsense would take place outside of the U.S.

The "this"-word and "that"-word practice of avoiding bluntness is very silly, IMO, and it just proves that we are not as liberated as we would like to think we are. Yes, I know it's a matter of PC, but while I am all for tact, I think PC is too often an insult to our intelligence, and that it stunts our mental growth.

There, I feel so much better. :g

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Just got around to reading Crouch's Pryor piece. "The vulgarity of his material, and the idea a 'real' black person was a foul-mouthed type was his greatest influence." Please! Pryor's greatest influence, or greatest impact, was that he said/performed things that were at best tremendously funny because they were also tremendously, touchingly real. I think it was our host, Jim A., who mentioned one of the classic and most typical moments: The dog who pensively says of Pryor's (deceased, right?) pet monkey, "And I was gonna eat him too." I wonder how many of Pryor's great moments involved something like that -- the intervention of literal or figurative other voices -- human, animal, demonic, etc. who engage in sly dialgoue with our beleaguered comic hero. And the literal voice that Pryor came up with for that dog, or for Mudbone, or Lord knows how many other beings!

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Just got around to reading Crouch's Pryor piece. "The vulgarity of his material, and the idea a 'real' black person was a foul-mouthed type was his greatest influence." Please! Pryor's greatest influence, or greatest impact, was that he said/performed things that were at best tremendously funny because they were also tremendously, touchingly real. I think it was our host, Jim A., who mentioned one of the classic and most typical moments: The dog who pensively says of Pryor's (deceased, right?) pet monkey, "And I was gonna eat him too." I wonder how many of Pryor's great moments involved something like that -- the intervention of literal or figurative other voices -- human, animal, demonic, etc. who engage in sly dialgoue with our beleaguered comic hero. And the literal voice that Pryor came up with for that dog, or for Mudbone, or Lord knows how many other beings!

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Please pass the potatoes.

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anyone have the box set that was released?

rich's single cds

Craps(after hours)

Super******

Black Ben The Blacksmith

Who Me? I'm Not Him

Are You Serious???

The Wizard Of Comedy

edit for one more *

Edited by Soulstation1

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