Our mantra this week: If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.
The other day, I was listening to an old record from the ’70s and realized we usually played just one side of it, over and over, and rarely the other side.
It was this record.
It was one of the records we listened to in Jerry’s basement when we were in high school in the mid-’70s. But as I played it again the other night, it became clear that the most memorable bits were on the first side, which was called “This Side.” I flipped it over and listened to “That Side,” which again didn’t measure up to “This Side.”
Richard Pryor’s salacious, profane comedy was mind-blowing for a bunch of white kids from the middle of Wisconsin. Pryor may have been from Peoria, Illinois, not all that far from where we grew up, but his was a much different world than ours. Pryor had a keen eye and ear for those differences. His world was black and white, and he drew some sharp distinctions.
“White folks do things a lot different than niggers do. …
Black families be different.”
Here are two examples, recorded live in early 1974 at Don Cornelius’ Soul Train nightclub in San Francisco:
“Black And White Life Styles” and “Exorcist,” Richard Pryor, from “That Nigger’s Crazy,” 1974. That LP is out of print, but both bits are available on “The Anthology, 1968-1992,” a 2002 compilation that also draws more from “This Side” than “That Side.”
A few words about the N Word: It’s used here only in the context of the time, as Pryor himself used it at the time.