I wanted to say a few words to encapsulate the career of Richard Pryor but there is way too much.
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, film director,social critic, satirist, writer, and MC.….
Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time: …
Pryor’s body of work includes the concert movies and recordings: Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’ (1971), That Nigger’s Crazy (1974),…Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), and Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983). He also starred in numerous films as an actor, such as Superman III (1983), but was usually in comedies such as Silver Streak (1976), and occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader‘s film Blue Collar(1978). He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. Another frequent collaborator was actor/comedian/writer Paul Mooney….
Pryor won an Emmy Award (1973) and five Grammy Awards (1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982). In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. The first ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was presented to him in 1998. Pryor is listed at Number 1 on Comedy Central‘s list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians.….
In 1969, Pryor moved to Berkeley, California, where he immersed himself in the counterculture and rubbed elbows with the likes of Huey P. Newton and Ishmael Reed. He signed with the comedy-oriented independent record label Laff Records in 1970, and in 1971 recorded his second album, Craps (After Hours). Two years later, the relatively unknown comedian appeared in the documentary Wattstax (1973), wherein he riffed on the tragic-comic absurdities of race relations in Watts and the nation. Not long afterward, Pryor sought a deal with a larger label, and after some time, signed with Stax Records. When his third, breakthrough album, That Nigger’s Crazy (1974), was released, Laff, who claimed ownership of Pryor’s recording rights, almost succeeded in getting an injunction to prevent the album from being sold. ….That Nigger’s Crazy was a commercial and critical success; it was eventually certified Gold by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedic Recording at the 1975 Grammy Awards….
….Pryor returned to Reprise/Warner Bros. Records, which re-released That Nigger’s Crazy, immediately after …Is It Something I Said?, his first album with his new label. Like That Nigger’s Crazy, the album was a hit with both critics and fans; it was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedic Recording at the 1976 Grammy Awards…..
Pryor’s release Bicentennial Nigger (1976) continued his streak of success. It became his third consecutive Gold album, and he collected his third consecutive Grammy ….
The Richard Pryor Show premiered on NBC in 1977 but was canceled after only four episodes probably because television audiences did not respond well to his show’s controversial subject matter, and Pryor was unwilling to alter his material for network censors. During the short-lived series, he portrayed the first African-American President of the United States, spoofed the Star Wars cantina, took on gun violence, and in another skit, used costumes and visual distortion to appear nude.…..
In 1983, Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for US$40,000,000. This resulted in the mainstreaming of Pryor’s onscreen persona and softer, more formulaic films like Superman III (1983), which earned Pryor $4,000,000; Brewster’s Millions (1985), Moving (1988), and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). The only film project from this period that recalled his rough roots was Pryor’s semi-autobiographic debut as a writer-director, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986), which was not a major success….
In 2002, a television documentary depicted Pryor’s life and career. Broadcast in the UK as part of the Channel 4 series Kings of Black Comedy, it was produced, directed and narrated by David Upshal and featured rare clips from Pryor’s 1960s stand-up appearances and movies such as Silver Streak (1976), Blue Collar (1978), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1978), and Stir Crazy (1980). Contributors included George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice-T, Paul Mooney, Joan Rivers, and Lily Tomlin. The show tracked down the two cops who had rescued Pryor from his “freebasing incident”, former managers, and even school friends from Pryor’s home town of Peoria, Illinois. In the US, the show went out as part of the Heroes of Black Comedy series on Comedy Central, narrated by Don Cheadle.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pryor
This is a shortening of all the praise of him on Wikipedia