In addition to the eponymous album Richard Pryor, this release comes with a bonus CD featuring 21 tracks from Evolution / Revolution. Just the re-release of Pryor’s early work makes this a must for comedy fans but the bonus tracks show how a label like Omnivore Recordings knows how to release classic comedy albums with class.

Richard Pryor, the eponymous album, is quite funny and interesting. It does show its age. For example, sixties comics were big on skits with the premise “it would go something like this” made most famous by Bob Newhart.

Richard Pryor opens with a bit on what a Black superhero named Supern….. would be like, “mild mannered custodian for the Daily Planet. Able to see through everything except whitey”. This is followed by a couple of bits about growing up. The next tracks are one-man sketches (a la Jonathan Winters for comparison’s sake) about a warden and a play taking place in a prison somewhere, and the Bob Barton talk show.

Much like the other recent Omnivore Recording Richard Pryor release Craps (After Hours) the tracks on this CD feel spliced in. The next track is about discovering girls and bad breath as well as a bit about Pryor’s experience in the army. The closer for this first CD is another skit of Frankenstein on LSD.

The bonus CD is superb. Recorded at the Hungry I, Pryor talks about his childhood, There is something Cosby-like about these memories but there is a bit behind most of them such as when Pryor found out he “was not a kid but a Negro.”

This album is also obviously a collection of clips but this does not detract from enjoying the show itself. It is smartly edited so that two different bits about Pryor’s start in show business (in 1946 as The Wind and 1944 as a cowboy) follow each other.

Other tracks includes bits about church, watching WWII movies, marching in the army, gang life, an after hours club (which is a little dark), an improv bit of all things.

The second CD in the Richard Pryor set closes with Pryor’s impression of mankind and history including the War of Secession and WWII. This is Pryor as his least known and most brilliant even if he seems to run out of stage time for this routine.

Richard Pryor is a must for any comedy fan and Omnivore Recordings made damn sure you get a major bang for your buck.

Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Stand-up comedy CD
Omnivore Recordings 2021

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