Excerpted from Scott Saul's new biography, Becoming Richard Pryor. Quick setup: When Pryor started collaborating on the screenplay to The Mack—the 1973 film that brought the figure of the pimp to mainstream America—he was at an uncertain crossroads in his career. In the mid-1960s, he had become a fixture on TV…
As with many other subjects, it turns out Richard Pryor was willing to talk openly about police brutality long before most other Americans. Here's a clip from his 1977 standup movie Richard Pryor Live in Concert (the whole thing is a masterpiece, by the way), wherein he almost perfectly describes future events,…
...And for a long time now, too.
Originally published in the December 1986 edition of Sport magazine, as part of a special 40th anniversary issue devoted to "The 40 Who Changed Sports." This story is a good analytical companion to Pete Dexter's insane 1981 profile of Brown, reprinted here last week .
What do you get when you mix King Tee with Richard Pryor? Fun, dummy, fun is what you get. King Tee's "Act a Fool" already had Pryor cut-up on the record, we just added more because too much vintage Pryor is still not enough.
The classic routine: