quote by Anthony Jeselnik

Mike Tyson, what can I say about you that hasn’t already been the title of a Richard Pryor album?

— Anthony Jeselnik

Colossal Pryor quotations

Historically, Hollywood comedy has arrived in skinny envelopes.

From fence post Buster Keaton to herky-jerky Jerry Lewis to wiry nerve-bundle Woody Allen to hung-loose Richard Pryor to whippy contortionist Jim Carrey, its comics and clowns have tended to be sliced thin and bendable.

I was in love with a lot of people, because I was a student of the game of comedy - Carol Burnett, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Don Rickles, Red Foxx, Moms Mabley - who gets no credit, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, George Kirby. I loved them all, and I used to just take a page out of all of them.

I've never seen anyone more messed up over success than Richard Pryor.

For him, it's a constant battle between success in the white world and keeping it real for his black self.

I was scared to death because for the comics of my generation, HBO specials are like the pinnacle. I'm thinking of all these unbelievable comedians I've seen on HBO: Chris Rock, George Carlin, Damon Wayans, Richard Pryor and Billy Crystal. I started having a panic attack seeing my name in that list of people. It was pretty overwhelming.

I had seen movies before that that had made me laugh, but I had never seen anything even remotely close to as funny as Richard Pryor was, just standing there talking.

Richard Pryor is, in my mind, the most honest comedian.

He bared his soul to people. I think that's why everybody loved him so much.

I guess [Richard] Pryor was that good.

I never saw him in a theater, but I imagine he was that good, because he was such a phenomenal actor.

I think seeing Pryor's first movie, Live In Concert, when I was in high school changed my life. Pryor really put the heart in darkness for me.

I have no desire to be hip to the latest black slang and do the stereotypical black thing. I was a Richard Pryor fan, and I have used profanity in my act. But when it becomes a whole thing that defines blacks, we're limiting ourselves. The enemy is us.

At the end of the day, I want to be part of the same conversation as Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.

There's a charm, there's a rhythm, there's a soul to Jewish humor.

When I first saw Richard Pryor perform, I told him, 'You're doing a Jewish act.'

I remember seeing Richard Pryor's first movie;

it was a midnight movie when I was in high school. I must have been about fifteen. It was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. I'd never laughed that much.

I had a couple of movies that I was passionately involved with that I could never get made. 'Richard Pryor,' I wrote for - gosh - over a year. That was close to getting made for two-and-a-half years after that. We're still pushing it, you know. It is weird. Suddenly you wake up and it's like, 'God, five years have gone by.

When I was a bit older I had all of the George Carlin records, all of the Steve Martin records, all of the Cheech and Chong records and all of the Richard Pryor records.

Now, Richard Pryor was unique. Many misunderstood his humor. He lit up the hallway, but they didn't understand his use of profanity. He didn't use it just to be using it; he used it in the context of his satire.

Becoming Richard Pryor is a compulsively readable book that sets a new gold standard for American biography. Scott Scaul's research is extraordinary; his writing is taut, elegant, and insightful; and he captures both the hilarity and pain that made Richard Pryor such a towering figure.

So I started to relax and would work on my act eight hours a day, sitting at a desk writing at my grandmother's house, and I would put on Richard Pryor Live on Long Beach and would play it like a loop and think and write.

I love comedy and I would write things to myself as an exercise in writing.

I didn't do well for years, and I quit. I started to break down why I was afraid and started to look at people I admired, like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Freddie Prinze, George Carlin and all.

People like to compare something to something that they know.

Even with Chris Rock, they say he's like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy.

Few if any teenagers can relate to getting up for school and finding famous comics like Pryor and Williams hanging out in your living room after a hard night of partying. But that's Hollywood.

When I was 8, I thought I was Harrison Ford, Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Elvis, and Chuck Norris all at once.

I remember when we were doing the love scene in Some Kind Of Hero, we got in bed nervously. Then he looked up, and it was very genuine, and he went, " Richard Pryor's in bed with Lois Lane!" And it was so cute!

My favorite, favorite, favorite, and the greatest comedian that could ever exist if you could Frankenstein a comedian together, would be one part Richard Pryor, one part Peter Sellers. That would be the greatest comic actor.

I was immediately into all the great movie comedians - Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder. Everything those guys had anything to do with, from I don't know how young. Super young.

Gene Wilder made his movie debut in "Bonnie And Clyde," starred in the Mel Brooks films "The Producers," "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," played opposite Richard Pryor in "Silver Streak" and "Stir Crazy" and portrayed the candy-maker in "Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory."

We gave each other a hug, [Richard Pryor] said how much he admired me, I said how much I admired him, and we started working the next morning, and we hit it off really well, and he taught me how to improvise on camera.

I met Richard Pryor for the first time in Calgary, in Canada. A very quiet, modest meeting.

I've shown people Richard Pryor who've never seen him, and most of them don't like him.

Richard Pryor is my favorite stand-up ever.

[Televised stand-up] never really makes me laugh.

The only one I ever saw that I liked was Richard Pryor, and that was [shot on] film.

Young stand-ups, we ought to do comedy in George Carlin's spirit, in Richard Pryor's spirit, in Jackie Gleason's spirit, in Lucille Ball's spirit, because they did it with the spirit.

Richard Pryor had real sincere and vulnerable moments.

Now it seems so cheesy if you stop your act and say, "This is why we have to help them kids. We've got to make sure them kids can read."

I view my stories as sexual or personal.

Curiously, I don't. When I was writing those stories I thought of them as comedy pieces in the vein of performance monologue, such as you might get with Richard Pryor, or Lenny Bruce, or George Carlin. So I don't feel vulnerable because I know the line of demarcation between "Writer Kevin" and "Narrative Kevin."

I've always liked Richard Pryor. I've always responded to rhythmic profanity.

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