The true measure of Richard Pryor’s impact can’t be found in the films he starred in and the albums he cut, it’s the impact that he made on the next generation of boundary-pushing comedians and those that have been inspired by them. Simply, there is pre-Richard Pryor comedy and post-Richard Pryor comedy, and the latter is filled with honesty and sharpness that Pryor’s students picked up from watching and listening to the man as he spoke in a profane and profound manner about society in his time. Today, as we mark the passage of ten years since Pryor’s death, it seemed right to reflect on some his most important and influential bits, though we acknowledge that to truly understand Pryor’s power, you really should listen to his whole body of work — his early period, his sketch series, and the later work which we mostly focused on.
Warning: a lot of this material may be considered NSFW
One of Pryor’s most popular creations, Mudbone was a politically incorrect (to put it mildly) street smart wino who conversed with the many colorful characters in his life. At one point, Pryor started to move away from Mudbone, but during the 1982 special, Live At the Sunset Strip, an audience member yells out “do Mudbone!” and Pryor reluctantly obliges. The above clip features the most famous Mudbone bit, “Little Feets.”