Richard Pryor

...And It's Deep, Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992)

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Although some might give the nod to Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryor was arguably the most important, influential, and groundbreaking standup comic in America during the latter half of the '70s. Pryor's brilliantly perceptive, confrontational dissections of racial injustice paved the way for countless African-American comedians to tackle similar subject matter, and his brutal honesty about his personal life lent an extra depth to the edginess of his performances. Much of Pryor's best-known material appeared on the Warner Bros. label, and that body of work is reissued on CD for the first time as the mammoth nine-disc box set ...And It's Deep, Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992). The leap between the first and second discs (the albums Richard Pryor and That Nigger's Crazy, recorded in 1968 and 1974, respectively) is astonishing when heard back to back; Pryor moves from relatively traditional standup to inflammatory, foul-mouthed, deadly accurate send-ups of white America and its still poor treatment of African-Americans. Pryor only gets sharper over the rest of the box, which also contains the albums ...Is It Something I Said?, Bicentennial Nigger, Wanted: Live in Concert (Parts 1 & 2), Live on the Sunset Strip, and Here and Now, which take you up to 1983. There's also a bonus disc titled "That "African-American" Is STILL Crazy: Good S**t from the Vaults," which compiles recorded outtakes from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, plus an 80-page booklet packed with tributes, informative essays, excerpts from interviews and Pryor's autobiography, and much more. The set may be huge and somewhat costly, but it's also a fitting tribute to one of the true giants of American comedy.

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