RIP Richard Pryor, who lost more roles for his brilliantly outrageous comedy than most comedians ever see for playing it safe. As his career as a “safe” comedian was taking off in the late sixties, he had “an epiphany” on stage in Las Vegas. Taking the stage, he simply asked, “What the fuck am I doing here?” and walked off. From then on, his career was a headlong rush at everything awkward and taboo.
Instead of linking to clips from his standup, I’d like to share this clip from Nick Bougas’ “Celebrities at Their Worst“, in which he takes a couple pokes at other comedians and ruminates on his own success, which he never seemed to quite believe.
Richard Pryor Outtakes (MP3 Link Expired)
Update: WFMU’s got a clip from the short-lived Richard Pryor Show in which he fronts a band called “Black Death”. It stars a young Sandra Bernhard…if you don’t have time, just check out this screencap and say “motherfucker” in the cookie monster voice.