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January 5th, 2009
My Comedian Hero
Whoopi Goldberg
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Whoopi Goldberg: Richard Pryor, oh my God. Richard Pryor, again, it’s one of those things where you hate to keep saying it but he’s black! And young. He was black and young and so were we. And so a new generation of humor came from Richard. ‘Cause when you watch him on some of the more staged shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, the humor’s there but there’s something just different. You know, and when you got the albums, you heard a whole different kind of thing going on because he could tell you a story, tell you the story of big Bertha’s behind and we all knew a big Bertha. Even all the white kids knew a Big Bertha, you know, in every neighborhood except the . . . No, every neighborhood has that wino. Now maybe he isn’t on the corner, maybe the wino is parking his car coming from work, but you go over to those folks’ house and it’s the same guy, whether he’s on the street or he’s, you know, just come home from work from having . . .Again, you know, it’s universal, Richard was universal and innovative because no one had ever done it the way that he did it. Not who was black.
Mort Sahl told amazing stories but not from the neighborhood, you know. Richard was from a specific neighborhood and people went, “Hey, you’re talking about me. That’s, that’s me.”

  • Dee Watson

    Whoopi, is my comedy hero for some of the same reasons she gives about Richard Pryor. The first time I saw her do a bit about a little black girl putting a towel on her head and pretending she had “long luxurious” hair, it was amazing, because my sister and I did that. Much later in life, I am a stand up comedian, and Whoopi is always in the back of my mind when I write and perform.

  • Mark Nielsen

    The first cable special (HBO?) that Whoopi did… oh my God! She’s never done anything as good since. And I think Cosby did some of what she says prior was doing,… he was just cleaner, safer, more family-friendly. Still very innovative, though… all three of them.

  • pixie

    Does anyone remember Whoopi’s HBO standup as the “The Wino?” It was awesome. I could relate because my dad was an achoholic. She was the best she will ever be as far as entertaining except maybe as “Celie” in The Color Purple. I would love to have that standup episode on DVD.
    As far as Cosby and Pryor-
    Bill Cosby was right.
    Richard Pryor was real. And I miss him so much.

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