In almost every culture, you can find someone with a story about sneaking behind their parents back to listen to a Richard Pryor concert album, no matter what the consequences would be.
Richard Pryor’s comedic genius has influenced some of today’s greatest comedians, and his blue humor, although criticized during the beginnings of his prolific career, shocked and engaged the worlds audience.
His political brash material made him the quintessential comedic genius. Michael Jackson said in a statement, "there will never be another like him. He was a trailblazer whose extraordinary talent and genius provided the blueprint for others to follow."
As a young child growing up in his native Peoria, IL, he discovered early on that he had a gift to make people laugh, and he had also found a way to work through the harsh beginnings of his life through humor.
Richard Pryor was raised in a brothel ran by his paternal grandmother, and his immediate influences were drunks, johns, prostitutes, junkies and absentee parents, his sordid background became the fuel for his rocket to memorable stardom.
Eddie Murphy stated, "He was better than anyone who ever picked up a microphone." Richard Pryor was the measuring scale for all comedians to follow.
He bore six children by five wives, including his daughter, budding comedian/actress Rain Pryor. He has starred in over 40 memorable films; he has written and directed, survived an attempted
suicide, conquered drug abuse and up until the time of his death in December, 2005, he was still doing his self’s best…stand-up comedy.
Pryor's genius was embedded in voicing his opinion with no regard for the penalties, and he will always be known as the man who set the standard for today’s comedy; by showing America at a time when it wasn’t okay for an African American to speak truthfully about his life and family without regard for the census, on the world's stage.
He conquered television, film, stage and prejudice, without regard for the impact he had and still has on comedy and true showmanship. In honor of the late great Sir Richard, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be hosting a Richard Pryor film festival starting today through February 21, at the BAM Rose Cinemas.
The hilarious nostalgic cinema will feature seventeen of Pryor’s classics, such as his phenomenal live showcases, ‘Richard Pryor: Live in Concert’ and ’ Richard Pryor: Live on Sunset Strip,’ ‘Blue Collar’ which featured one of his best dramatic performances, the cult favorite ‘ Car Wash’ ,‘Which Way is Up?’ and ‘Lady Sings the Blues.’
The festival will also feature Mr. Pryor and his greatest co-star in several films, Gene Wilder, in ‘Stir Crazy’ and ‘Silver Streak.’ The festival features 17 of Mr. Pryor’s most memorable roles on film and promises laughs for everyone who loved, was inspired and knows his comedic genius.