What’s not to like about Richard Pryor? The late beloved comedian hypnotized us with his harsh words, harsher jokes, and brutal honesty for decades — Superman III notwithstanding. So why wouldn’t you want to honor the man with a statue of his likeness? Here’s two words as to why not: Lucille Ball.
Despite her horrific bronze statue and the stir it caused, Pryor’s own was admiringly sculpted in the comedian’s home town of Peoria, Ill. by local artist Preston Jackson. The Peoria Journal Star reports he fought for nine years to get the statue funded, made, and erected.
After deciding that Peoria needed to honor Pryor with a public statue, Jackson contacted the comedian and his wife for permission.
“She told Richard I want to do this and he saw my resume and some other things and said ‘this is the guy I want to do this,’” said Jackson. To raise money, Jackson asked for help from the African American Hall of Fame and other volunteers.
The community pushed back at first, mainly due to Pryor’s notoriety for being a “terribly foul-mouthed, drug-ingesting comic.” But Jackson and his supported persisted, even getting a big push from comedian George Lopez, who helped organize and host an all-star fundraiser back in November.
After unveiling the statue to the press this past Monday, Jackson erected the statue at a designated spot in town during an official ceremony today.
Jackson and some volunteers trucked the statue across town to the spot for the ceremony. Meanwhile, a few Twitter-savvy Peoria residents captured all the action for the world to see.
Lucille Ball’s nightmare-inducing effigy is an example of what not to do, but it looks and sounds like Pryor’s isn’t that at all. It does have it’s own Twitter account, though. That’s just weird.
(Via Peoria Journal Star)