27 April 2007

Jokes my Father Never Told Me: a biography of Richard Pryor by his daughter

I seem to be waking up around 10 am these days, just in time to watch Quantum Leap on ITV2, to the sound of radio4 slowly fading in. I've noticed it quite alot recently, my eyes are open and I am seeing things before I can hear anything, resulting in a strange delay in the two senses, the overly english voices of the radio fading into my conciousness slowly and smoothly. It certainly is an interesting effect.

I listen to the radio alot when I'm drifting off, it gives me something other than the thoughts in my head to focus on. This is a good thing. Sometimes when all I have are my thoughts and memories they take on behomothic proportions, my brain kicks over into 6th gear, and before I realise it I'm spinning on a carosel of cognition I cannot for the life of me stop. Sometimes its good and I end up writing a poem, or making a note of something, but other times I end up scraping the bucket of my emotions and generally feeling like shit. Either way, it means sleep ain't coming soon.

When my hearing came around this morning a woman was intereviewing another woman concerning a book she had written about her father. The interview sounded interesting and as I lay there, with my faculties filtering back to the forefront of my mind, I tried to figure out who it was they were talking about. A gathered little tidbits of clues from their discussion. Black... 60s... Hendrix? Jewish heritiage... Hendrix was part cherokee, not part Jew, so he's out... How about Dylan? Dylan was white but maybe... maybe the mother of the child in question was black? The title was the big give away: The Jokes my father never told me... Jokes... black... Richard Pryor? Maybe. The interview finished and I was still none the wiser, but then all I had to do was remember the title and look it up on online.

Which is what I did. It was Richard Pryor, the woman being interviewed Rain Pryor, his daughter. I got alot of respect for Pryor's art: He gets labelled the funniest black commedian that ever lived, but that's a terrible condecending title to hold. Richard Pryor was one of the funniest commedians who ever lived FULL STOP-black, white, or aqua marine. He sure did lead a fucked up life though....

( review ) ( excerpt ) ( Richard Pryor Homepage ) ( mp3 of 'That Nigger's Crazy' over at Odeo ) ( Richard Pryor stuff on youtube )