Long before President Barry O called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his humble abode, there was another commander-in-chief with a fair share pigment in his skin. No, not Black Bush. Not Chris Rock in Head of State. Not Bill Clinton, either. I’m talking about Richard Pryor.
Because of Pryor’s remarkable career and impact, it’s often forgotten the sketch comedy, The Richard Pryor Show, only aired from September 13, 1977, to October 4 of the same year. Ratings and all around envelope-pushing topics made it an easy target; yet its inspiration moving forward for shows like In Living Color and The Chappelle Show remains more than apparent. Richard tackling the issue of being the country’s first Black President was far beyond its time, but one proving to be iconically more hilarious off the strength off the topics addressed.
Pryor confronts serious motifs of space travel and the economy adding a tidal wave of comedy. Nonetheless, when the topics of Black NFL quarterbacks, Huey Newton and white women arise, prepare yourself for an impromptu ab workout, especially during the back-and-forth with the reporter from Mississippi. It’s not really much else to describe the clip outside of taking it in for yourself.
Just know there’s a certain sense of irony realizing this clip was funny 35 years ago because the thought of a Black President was as possible as O.J. Simpson ever making White America uncomfortable for a bad decision.