Saturday, December 03, 2005

Race War of the Words.

Richard Pryor: Live On The Sunset Strip
1982, USA
Joe Layton

Why is it that it’s taboo for white people to make jokes about race, but when it’s a black guy on stage it’s open season on whitey? Oh, yeah. It’s because they’ve suffered as second class citizens in America for running on five hundred years now, and if the price of running the world is that a pockmarked black guy calls you a nerd in front of a crowd of ex-cons and welfare recipients, I think white people should just grin and bear it. I’m as sick of people complaining about ‘reverse racism’ as I am of the jokes that black comics make about whites, which is usually that white people talk like stuck-up Yalies named Chas, and black guys fuck a lot. Neat. So Caucasians get over-educated and black people get AIDS. Way to stick it to the man.

So, now we’ve established that hundreds of years of oppression give one the right to poke fun at your oppressors, but the jokes need to be funnier. This actually leads to a discussion of Richard Pryor, because he is very much not funny. What he is, however, is a great storyteller. He tells amusing anecdotes instead of jokes, like my grandfather, and strangely enough they both use the same word to describe African-Americans. I’ve never laughed out loud at a Richard Pryor bit (and after seeing his TV show, was convinced I’d never laugh again), but I find his material compulsively watchable. He’s had a rough life, and listening to him talk about is as gripping and addictive as smoking freebase until you set yourself on fire. And though some of his stuff may be old hat, occasionally it still touches on subjects that are sensitive, and taboo, which is any comic’s dream. And while it never made me laugh, Live on Sunset Strip did inspire me to catalogue a bunch of racial slurs into a pseudo-review of a stand-up DVD. I think that’s what Pryor would have wanted.


Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Best stand-up DVD?

10:28 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

It's a toss-up. I'm going to say it's either Bill Hicks (just to beat everyone to the punch) or Ricky Gervais' (from The Office) stand-up 'Politics'. Hey, I got a joke for you- it's an oldie but I hadn't heard it in a while and it made me smile:

A guy is at a hospital. He's an expecting father, his wife is giving birth in the next room. The doctor comes out to tell him how it went. 'I've got some good news and I've got some bad news.' says the doc.
Christ, thinks the guy, 'Give me the bad news first.'
Doctor says 'Your son is a redhead.'
'Well, that blows. What's the good news?'
'He's stillborn.'

7:53 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin's brother Robert said...

Ash, that first paragraph has taken you from person on the Internet I think is great, straight past person I'd quite like to meet and into person it'd be a bit awkward if I met because I'd genuinely be very happy indeed and I'd be aware it was betraying my cool British exterior.

6:21 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Rin's Brother Robert - Thanks. Though I assure you that, should we ever meet, you would proceed directly past very happy indeed into extremelly disappointed, as I'm just sort of a depressive grouch in person. But the compliment means a lot coming from the fellow who wants to break Anne Hathaway's nose.

11:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Rin's brutha Robert said...

'Extremely'. Just FYI.

9:40 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin said...

If I wasn't so angry about all the Christianity in the Narnia movie, I'd probably be commenting on this.

9:41 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...


10:08 a.m.  
Anonymous Robert. said...

Desmond from Lost.

10:46 a.m.  
Blogger David Wester said...

Nice going. You killed him.

6:14 p.m.  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

I haven't watched a stand-up DVD in a while, but I recently heard a CD of Woody Allen 1964-1968 which I liked a lot.

9:19 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Thanks. I try. Next target: Martin Lawrence.

1:44 p.m.  
Anonymous a dirty fucking sambo, darky, blackie, coonskin, nigger bastard said...

man, you is a corn pone, jive arsed, pecker wood, chicken shit, motherfucker, hey, wait a minute man, thats my god-damned name to, goddamit, motherfucker, we has got the same motherfucking name man, now we is brothers, but we ain`t no pansy queer bastards, no sir, no way, not no how, cos` me hates motherfucking faggots.

4:39 p.m.  

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