Like other professions, that of the comedian has its own hierarchy. Pryor is a jester, a high rank that can be defined as a clown who goes armed…. [His] charm is boundless, but of a sort that one would not want to presume upon. His grin is inviting but his eyes are watchful, and he responds to acclamation with a breathless, almost suppressed laugh that seems private, a little ambiguous. He can be charming, all right, but hardly playful, and at times he is not even pleasant.
He opens [his film Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip] by announcing that he will speak first "about fucking." It is a bold, if somewhat obvious, way to seize the attention of an audience. What depressed me was that...
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