The Very Best of Richard Pryor is hardly what it claims. But as I’ve said, and will continue to say as long as I have life in my chest, it does not get any funnier than Richard Pryor.
Another Laff Records rush-to-get-it-out, recycled-without-a-hint-of-shame, X-Rated, listen-after-your-parents-have-long-gone-to-bed release, The Very Best of Richard Pryor embezzles from “Craps” After Hours (1971), Are You Serious??? (1976), Who Me? I’m Not Him (1977), Black Ben the Blacksmith (1978), Outrageous (1979), and what sounds like a Scotch tape merging of cutting room floor excerpts. This is all, of course, certainly not to say that The Very Best of Richard Pryor is without merit, and shouldn’t be owned by everyone who enjoys the idea of laughing until you cry.
RIP Richard Pryor.
Recording only one, proper album for Laff Records, Richard Pryor saw many, recycled releases throughout the label’s tenure, up, and until to their ultimate demise sometime in the 1980s. Among the two I just acquired (Who Me? I’m Not Him and The Very Best of Richard Pryor), Laff Records released the following slue of cut and past jobbers showcasing the funniest man alive (RIP Richard Pryor): “Craps” After Hours, Rev. Du Rite, Are You Serious???, Insane, L.A. Jail, Holy Smoke, Who Me? I’m Not Him, Black Ben the Blacksmith (I just passed this one up on 8-track), The Wizard of Comedy, Outrageous, Supern!gger, Richard Pryor Live, and The Very Best of Richard Pryor. Milking the money cow that was Mr. Pryor proved to be profiting for the “adults only” label, and as far as I’m concerned, the more Richard Pryor, the merrier.
A day that goes by without a Richard Pryor quote is both a sad, and extremely rare day. Literally every time someone mentions a year from the 20th century, my tuned Pryears : ) perk up, and I do everything within my power to stop from breaking into the classic Sugar Ray Robinson routine. “Nineteen what?!” One of the best gifts I’ve truly ever given myself was the countless hours of listening to Richard Pryor. Because, in doing so, I’m now able to conjure up Rich’s voice in my head, seemingly at will. It’s an overwhelmingly comfortable feeling to have Richard Pryor with you every moment of every day. One of life’s little gifts, I guess.
The following is a list of everyday objects and well, whatevers that will forever be linked to the funniest man to ever walk the Earth (sorry, Jason Hardwick): fish sandwiches; dice; change for $1; craps; pet monkeys; walking in the woods; snakes; winos; 11 o’clock; blackjack; polar bears; (I’m literally crying I’m laughing so hard just thinking of these comedic bits) Mongo Santamaría; turtle soup; license plates; a cool breeze; and anything deep (to name a few).
I’m strongly considering dedicating Saturday mornings to Richard Pryor, much to the dismay of my girlfriend and our uptight neighbors. If you’re unfamiliar with the crowned prince of comedy, start with Craps (After Hours). Keep an open mind and the kids out of earshot. You’ll thank me.