04.28.09 9 years ago 4 Comments

So, this is pretty cool.  This is one of Richard Pryor’s earliest TV performances, from 1964, just a year after he moved to New York from Peoria, Illinois (where his mom was a prostitute.  Thanks, Wikipedia!).

It’s so weird to see Pryor dressed in a nice suit with French cuffs.  And not swearing.  And performing for a lily-white audience (check the crowd shot just before the clip ends).  But you can see the roots of what was to come: he gets away with one joke about his own racial background, and then — at around the 4:20 mark — he mocks the audience for needing a couple seconds to piece together one of his punchlines.  As well he should.  Damn honkies.

[the comic’s comic]

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