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Richard Pryor: The Life and Legacy of a "Crazy" Black Man


Richard Pryor: The Life and Legacy of a "Crazy" Black Man Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Richard Pryor is an American icon whose name evokes irreverent humor, social critique, and a perplexing degree of self-agonized genius. This anthology captures in one volume the spirit, zest, and cultural impact of Pryor's complex artistry. Audrey Thomas McCluskey has assembled insightful essays from a broad range of scholars, social critics, writers, filmmakers, and other established and emerging commentators on American culture. Although a celebration of Pryor's genius, the book approaches the subject with a critical sensibility that provides insight into his work to reveal how he simultaneously highlighted and embodied prominent narratives of race, gender, and social conditions in America in ways that continue to enlighten and entertain.


A tribute to the irreverent and complex artistry of a 20th-century comic genius

About the Author

Audrey Thomas McCluskey is a professor of African American and African diaspora studies and former director of the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University, Bloomington. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Richard Pryor: Comic Genius, Tortured Soul / Audrey Thomas McCluskey

Part 1. New Essays

1. "That Nigger's Crazy": Richard Pryor, Racial Performativity, Cultural Critique / Keith M. Harris

2. The Crisis of Black Masculinity in Jo Jo Dancer: Your Life Is Calling / Margo Natalie Crawford

3. Was It Something He Said? Censorship and the Richard Pryor Television Show, 1977 / Audrey Thomas McCluskey

4. Richard Pryor and the Poetics of Cursing / Kate E. Brown

5. Br'er Richard: Fascinatin' Storyteller / Maxine A. LeGall

6. "... And It's Deep Too": The Philosophical Comedy of Richard Pryor / Malik D. McCluskey

7. When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong: Pryor, Chappelle, and the Comedic Politics of the Post-Soul / Tyrone R. Simpson

Part 2. Biography

8. Jump Street!

From Richard Pryor: The Man behind the Laughter (1981) / Joseph Nazel

9. The Politics of Being Black

From If I Stop I'll Die: The Comedy and Tragedy of Richard Pryor (1991) / John A. Williams and Dennis A. Williams

10. "He Wasn't Afraid to Get Naked in Front of People": Michael Schultz Remembers Richard Pryor / Audrey Thomas McCluskey

Part 3. Reviews

11. Time Warp Movies: A Review of Superman III (1985) / Pauline Kael

12. Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1994) / Pauline Kael

13. Richard Pryor: The Real Slim Shady (2001) / Rob Sheffield

Part 4. Social and Cultural Criticism

14. The New Comic Style of Richard Pryor (1975) / James Alan McPherson

15. Jive Times: Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, and the Theatre of the Routine (1974) / David Felton

16. Richard and Me (1994) / Nelson George

17. Hill Street Bullshit, Richard Pryor Routines, and the Real Deal (1997) / Bob Avakian

18. Now's the Time: The Richard Pryor Phenomenon and the Triumph of Black Culture (1998) / Siva Vaidhyanathan

19. A Pryor Love: The Life and Times of America's Comic Prophet of Race (1999) / Hilton Als

20. Conclusion: We Owe a Debt to Richard Pryor / Audrey Thomas McCluskey

Selected Chronology: The Life and Times of Richard Pryor

Additional Sources

Permissions and Credits

List of Contributors


Product Details

Mccluskey, Audrey Thomas
Indiana University Press
McCluskey, Audrey T.
McCluskey, Audrey Thomas
McCluskey, Audrey Thomas
Bloomington, IN
Criticism and interpretation
Pryor, Richard
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Entertainment & Performing Arts - Comedians
cultural heritage
Pryor, Richard - Criticism and interpretation
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Entertainment & Performing Arts
African American Studies
African American; African American Studies; Performance Studies; Cinema; Cinema/Film; Criticism; Media
Edition Description:
Print PDF
Publication Date:
6 bandw photos
9.22 x 6.6 x 0.78 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Acting
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Comedy Business and Criticism
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General

Richard Pryor: The Life and Legacy of a "Crazy" Black Man New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Indiana University Press - English 9780253220110 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A tribute to the irreverent and complex artistry of a 20th-century comic genius
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