The album’s title: “Is It Something I Said?”
Well, yes, Richard. It’s something you said. It’s everything you said.
Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin form the Holy Trinity of American comedy. They broke rules, they went where they weren’t supposed to, and they changed the laugh-generating landscape for everyone who came after them.
Bob Newhart, no slouch when it comes to laughs, calls Pryor “the seminal comedian of the last 50 years.”
Pryor died in 2005 at the age of 65, and by that time poor health had kept him out of the spotlight for many years. Which means that a sizeable percentage of the young folk who today make up the audience for live comedy in this country are probably unfamiliar with his standup work. Oh, they may have seen him in movie roles, but at best those offered watered-down Pryor. To get the dude full strength you’ve got to look at the live routines.
And that’s just what you’ll find in “No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert: Richard Pryor,” a massive new boxed set out on the Shout label.
There have been other Pryor boxed sets – 2000’s “And It’s Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992)” and 2004’s “Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974).”