back to article Black and blue: The rise of the riotous Richard Pryor

Readers are advised that a number of the video clips featured in this article contain colourful language of a NSFW nature. It’s 40 years since Richard Pryor’s first seriously promoted album crashed into the US charts. Within months ... Is It Something I Said? went platinum and the next spring saw it win him his second Grammy …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Top notch piece


    1. Gene Cash Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Top notch piece

      Thanks for remembering a really talented and intelligent man who's forgotten way too often.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Hud Dunlap

    the union grievance scene from blue collar is the best

    Everyone I know who has worked in a union shop will tell you that scene is spot on. My Dad spent his life working in factories and he thought that was one of the best movies he had ever seen.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice piece, but seriously...

    Why would you censor an article about Richard Pryor?

  4. cd

    Missed the announcement about the Huffington-Register merger. Looking forward to Britney's IT tips column, sure it will reveal a few things.

    1. nsld

      No wonder

      People think the I.T industry is packed full of humourless social inadequates who will spontaneously combust if they see sunlight!

      In keeping with the article and the great man himself if you don't like this non I.T related shit then fuck off to ars technica motherfucker!

    2. cray74

      First Hacker

      "Missed the announcement about the Huffington-Register merger. "

      For the IT angle, Richard Pryor in Superman III was the first hacker I encountered in a movie. Or, ever. I was a bit young at the time and confused Pryor's use of an axe later in the movie with "hacking" for a couple of years. Anyway, his portrayal set a standard against which I judged every other Hollywood hacker, from my childhood favorite DARYL to Office Space and Mission Impossible.

      Also, he was funny as hell. His movie "Moving" is sometimes overlooked compared to his bigger comedies, but when I've been in companies with "unstable financial outlooks," it is really relatable.

  5. EddieD

    I ain't dead yet....


    This was the title page on his website, as many folk thought that he had succumbed to his illnesses, until he really was dead

    A wonderfully funny guy, with big problems - but wonderfully funny.

    Please, please, keep on reminding us of folk who can distract us from our drab mundane lives*, and make this vale of tears** worth persisting with...

    *Tom Lehrer

    **The bible, apparently, but oft-quoted by the good doctor

  6. johnwerneken

    Excellent article! Well done!

    He was a great man, not just the funniest man of his time, perhaps of all time.

  7. John Sanders

    In the 80's

    I loved every single movie he appeared in, he always made me laugh.

    He's the sole reason I like Superman III.

    That and the computer that makes a killer woman-robot, which is incidentally made/programmed by his character.

    I had no idea he had a musician side.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: In the 80's

      Agreed. I still think Superman I and Superman II were the greatest superhero films ever made (to date, at least) - but the subsequent Superman films, with the exception of the excellent Returns, were deeply flawed - the latest utterly unwatchable (I know, it's an unpopular opinion).

      Superman III would have been unwatchable too - except for Richard Pryor, who made the whole thing rather entertaining and rewatchable. Not Superman, but a passable spoof of Superman at least. And the freebie promotional transfers from boxes of Shreddies where great too!

    2. Timbo

      Re: In the 80's

      "I had no idea he had a musician side."

      I might be wrong, but I don't believe he was a musician....all his albums (LP's at the time) were recordings of his various comedy acts - a bit like Bob Newhart, or Monty Python, who also had record deals where they released new recordings of either live or studio performances.

      I can remember most record shops had separate section for "comedy" and getting a Pryor record on the day of release was akin to "revolution" when the LP was brought to school and played on the 6th form record player - totally uncensored and enough to earn a detention. ;-)

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: In the 80's

        He was a recording artist... In stand-up comedy. You know in an age before HBO, or VHS. In fact quite a lot of comedians, at least in the US are also recording stars as well.

  8. 45RPM Silver badge
    IT Angle

    And this is why The Register is still well worth reading. An excellent article - thank you.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Long Time Fan

    I remember as a kid, friends getting these albums, and pissing ourselves silly listening hour after hour.

    I forgot how to breathe... I'm trying...

    Fire is inspirational...

    Now if I could figure out how to get all those .5 cents into another account, I could change jobs...

    Thanks for recognizing him twice in the past few months.

  10. Juan Inamillion

    Mr Pedant here

    Spelled his name incorrectly in the URL... *cough*

  11. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Back in the mid/late-60s, the singer John Davidson had a variety program on TV in the U.S. as a summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers, whose show was on hiatus, IIRC. A more relentlessly white-bread act was impossible to imagine -- honestly, he made Pat Boone seem edgy, so this was something of a change from the Bothers' occasionally political humor.

    But he had two comedians on the show as at least semi-regulars over the course of however many weeks the show was on, who MUST have been forced on him by the producers in order to have something "for the kids". Because I can't imagine that, no matter HOW cleaned-up for television their acts were, Davidson would have chosen Richard Pryor and George Carlin as his "house comedians".

    They were... a revelation.

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