Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet 113

Here are a couple of excerpts from a book I recently read, "
Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him," by David Henry:

If you read transcripts of his breakthrough routines, you’ll find nothing remotely funny in the words themselves as printed on the page. It was all in his delivery, his empathy, his willingness to give himself fully to the characters he portrayed, and to let them take possession of him—so much so that it seems blasphemous to speak of “other comedians” when discussing Richard Pryor. There are no others. No one else could do onstage what Richard Pryor did. As his friend David Brenner says, “He stands alone.” 

Stories abound from the early days of radio when white comics would trek uptown to the Apollo, pencil and paper in hand, and help themselves to the best gags. One clear mark of Richard’s genius is that his comedy remains absolutely theft-proof. No one else could do his material. No one else would dare.

Right away there was trouble with the network. Despite having the full weight and support of Lear and Yorkin and their hit series All in the Family behind him, Foxx ran into a brick wall when he insisted that black writers be hired for the show. Specifically, he wanted Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney. NBC wouldn’t budge, despite both their track records and the unassailable authenticity they would lend to the show. None of that mattered. The network insisted on using “established” writers. As Mooney has often observed, racism trumps capitalism. And nobody, it seems, likes being told that they don’t understand the black experience.
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