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I chose to write about an interesting personality, at least in my humble opinion, who was a very intriguing comedian, an author, and also an actor in the process of it all. With no further hesitance, I would like to present Mr. Richard Pryor. For a lot of people, that name in itself might not even ring any bells, due to the fact, that he was an old fashion comedian, but with a flair for universal messages throughout his comic shows in general. That meant that even if you criticized him from all corners of his work, it would be quite difficult for an outsider to even come up with any constructive criticism, because his jokes had a ‘funny level’ that was hard to compete with overall. It was also understandable for people of every social class to relate to his rhetoric. He personally fascinates me, because he brought a lot of topics about racial differences in particular to the table, which were admirable for him at that age in time. There weren’t a lot of comedians who talked about everything between heavens and earth, without even cussing a single time when having the mic in hand.
Mr. Pryor was well-known for the entertainment business as the Picasso in those circles. He was actually the first African American man, who went on stage with his show called ‘White bread’ without even cursing once, while shedding some light on certain aspects of cultural differences in eating habits. He referred to the white Americans as very quiet in their table manners, not only while eating the food that they were blessed with, but also beforehand, and the underlining of the jokes were mostly focused on the fun difference between them and the African American communities, for the most part. The family atmosphere is different in a sense that it seemed like he wanted to address the fact that it’s okay, to small talk with one another during dinners – not with food in your mouth though, he did not mention anything about that part at least.
Very early in his career he was modelling his own perspectives, and took inspiration from the works of the legendary Bill Cosby, which drew a lot of attention on both celebrities, and actually made Cosby dislike the fact that they were being compared to each other at one point. If anyone had any deeper insider knowledge by studying the art of those two characters, they would easily come to the conclusion, that they are two very different individuals, with different ways of handing out the punchlines to the audience. The main reason for choosing this inevitably fascinating man for my essay, is primarily because of his blunt honesty, even though he strived for political correctness during most parts of his long career. Secondly, it is also because he had an even more interesting personal life as well, and had actually been through a lot at a very young age, as a little kid growing up. When you add all of the tragically events up, you see that he might very likely have a thing or two, to offer the world with, by his contributions.
He was born to a prostitute named Gertrude on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor’s father was a notoriously violent pimp named LeRoy Pryor. For much of his childhood, Pryor was raised up in the actual brothel where his mother was working at, which was owned by his own no-nonsense grandmother, Marie Carter. While his own mother periodically were dropping out of his life for long stretches, it was Marie who served as Pryor’s central guardian and caretaker. He even compared his own father with a mafia member, because he was so intimidated by him while growing up, and that to me personally, is very interesting. Maybe it’s because I can personally relate to somewhat usual so called daddy issues, to a certain extent at least, but also because it’s honorable in a way, that a human being are able to turn a negative connotation, into something so funny and more likeable to hear about. In extension to the fact that he weren’t very fond of the whole cussing on stage scene, he actually wanted to get rid of the N-word once and for all. In conclusion, I would like to say that he was a great memorable person in history, who actually made people think about how they talked to one another, so that the negative stigmatizing would fade away with time. This semi tall skinny African American guy, with very charismatic features in his face work, who almost always had a suit on who was one size or two too big for him, will definitely be remembered for a long time to come. Not only, did he had a good taste for what it actually is to have a great sense of humor, but he also were quite the opposite of a lot of comics at his time. He was very honest on one hand, yes, but he did not take any social political stands on a lot of things. There weren’t even more than a handful of black men on television at the time, so to his own people, it was a special thing for sure. Everybody watched his shows, and enjoyed it, and still does. As the latter of his career went upwards, his devotion grew stronger for every day, he wanted to exploit his own talents to the fullest, and not waste any potential.
The issues for him at one point, was that he was being compared much more often that he would have liked for himself to be, because of the many imitations he pulled off. Therefore he of course wanted to show his own personality a bit more, which allowed him to actually get his breakthrough in the eyes of the rest of the world. It was mainly in the midst of the 90s that people actually noticed his hard work, and dedication to the field he was working in. I think that he got a lot of motivation as a socially restricted individual, who broke free from the patterns of life that he was being given at an early age. He joined the army, went to prison after a while afterwards, due to some racial incidents etc. Overall he was an interesting man, who I hope that other people would draw some inspiration from as well, even if they haven’t got any aspirations in terms of comedy.