Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Greatest

The greatest comedian of all time died today: Richard Pryor. I have listened to -- many, many times -- all of his concert albums. I was racking my mind to think up my favorite Pryor "joke." But, he wasn't a jokester as much as he was a master story-teller.

Comedians today mostly tell one-liners or do that mundance observational humor. Or nihilist, shock-shit. Like the nonsense in that new Sarah Silverman movie I refuse to watch; "Look I made fun of everyone and I'm cute...hee-hee." I happened to catch Chris Rock's latest HBO special last night, and it was basically an unnecessarily preachy sermon that you might hear at an African-American church on any given Sunday. If the minister said "fuck" alot, anyway.

Pryor was different in that he told absurd, painfully, honest, unbelievable stories, which rarely if ever had a punchline or a point, but had me rolling along the way. What I loved especially about his stories is how he personified everything. His dog, his dick, whatever, it all came alive to give the listen this tiered, fully-realized story. It is an art that is dying now. Think about it, how many of your friends can tell a good story? Or try and remember the last time you hung out, and the person just told a story about some shit. And didn't talk about their job, their wife, their family, their fucked-up shit.

Oh, here's one of favorite Richard Pryor "punch lines." It comes at the end of this long story about these two guys who are travelling cross-country. And both of them claim to have the biggest dick in the country. So, they stop at the Golden Gate Bridge and decide to take a piss. So, they whip them out.

One of the guys turns to the other and says, "Man, this water is cold."

"Yeah," the other guy says. "And it's deep, too."

Like all his stories in some way or another.

Rest-In-Peace, brother.


Blogger Earl Cootie said...

Ah. Cold. Deep. Someone fed me the cold line at an adjacent urinal once. I responded correctly. But I couldn't think of where the joke came from. Thank you.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I remember listening to an old vinyl of his - I was just amazed. A string of jokes started out with him saying: "So, you know how it is, when you freebasing?" (laugher)

I just couldn't beleive that at one time, *in the past*, people were joking around like that. And that Richard Pryor could do a freebasing joke, and get such a response. And that it was funny, to me, who knew nothing about freebasing.

2:02 AM  

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