In the 1970s, Richard Pryor dropped like a bomb into the sanitized landscape of American television. Raised in his grandmother’s Illinois bordello, he became famous for his expletive-filled stand-up routines about the black man trying to survive in the land of whiteys. His transition to television was stormy, and he had to battle to get every scene past the censors. The sacrifices he made to the white establishment contributed to a self-loathing that plagued him throughout adulthood. Seven marriages, and chronic drug abuse fueled endless media interest — as did Pryor’s setting himself on fire whilst freebasing cocaine. A string of friends including Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams recount how whenever Pryor was poised on the brink of mega success, his behavior would sabotage him — for most people to understand the comic legend you need to “omit the logic”. CN
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