Short Take: Becoming Richard Pryor – Scott Saul

While a few memorable standup comics from the 1970’s cemented their legacies in the movies, (Robin Williams and Steve Martin come to time) already many are now remembered only by historians and fans of the art. Prior, however, remains a potent cultural touchstone.

“Drawing on interviews with family and friends, unpublished journals and court records, Saul jauntily chronicles the year-by-year, and almost day-by-day, evolution of the young man from Peoria who developed into the man that Jerry Seinfeld called ‘the Picasso of our profession.’ ….Glaringly honest, Saul shines a light on Pryor’s descent into drugs, his brutal treatment of his wives, and his fretful insecurities about his own abilities. In the end, Pryor emerges as a revolutionary stand-up comic who perfected the art of dramatizing his own imperfections, and the world’s; a trenchant social critic, often called ‘Dark Twain.’”
—  Publishers Weekly

“This is a well-executed study that gives Pryor due credit as pioneer, intellectual and artist. Better written and more thoughtful than David and Joe Henry’s Furious Cool. The latter remains worth reading, but this book is the place to start.”
Kirkus Reviews

Becoming Richard Pryor (9780062123305) by Scott Saul. $27.99 hardcover. 12/9/14 on sale.

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