Richard Pryor

Revisiting Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor’s Subversively Brilliant Racial Satire ‘Blazing Saddles,’ 40 Years Later

For more than two decades now, the term “politically correct” has been, almost exclusively, the go-to refrain for reactionary scum and regressive cultural conservatives, bellowing self-righteously at the civilization’s hardheaded refusal to let them share their rape jokes or race gags or “feminazi” screeds in peace. Such complaints usually take a tone of wistful nostalgia, longing for a time when the “Thought Police” weren’t on constant patrol (and, thus, white men could pretty much do whatever they damn well pleased), so it’s with some care and concern that we take up the topic of one of the great comedy films, Blazing Saddles, which turns 40 years old this week. It is a film that, by almost any reasonable standard, is “politically incorrect”; likewise, it is a film that is all but impossible to imagine getting the green light today (from a major studio like Warner Brothers, anyway). But its genius, then and now, was the manner in which director Mel Brooks and his writers turned a broad Western spoof into what was, for its time, a revolutionary satire of race relations. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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25 Great ’80s Movies Time Has Forgotten

Buried among the also-rans within this week’s Blu-ray releases, you’ll find the HD debut of Tequila Sunrise, Robert Towne’s 1988 mystery/love triangle thriller starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell. It’s the kind of movie studios don’t make that much anymore — an entertaining and reasonably intelligent picture for grown-ups, done on a medium budget with the expectation of a medium return. There’s nosurplus of love out there for mainstream American moviemaking in the 1980s — and for good reason. But there are also a handful of films from that much-maligned era that have stood the test of time, and deserve more retroactive attention than they… Read More

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Flavorwire Staffers’ Best Cultural Experiences of 2013

With the end of every calendar year comes the customary influx of “Best Of” lists, definitively ranking the créme de la cultural créme of the last 365 days. But sometimes “best” doesn’t accurately describe the things that stick with us most, or that we irrationally love out of personal preference. So to cap off 2013, Flavorwire staffers listed their favorite cultural items of the year — the books, movies, and experiences we’ll be taking into 2014. Click through for Flavorwire writers’ most memorable cultural moments of the past year. … Read More

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10 Controversial Comedians on Their Right to Be Offensive

Today would have been Lenny Bruce’s 88th birthday, and we couldn’t celebrate the scathing satirist’s legacy without a little help from a few fellow controversial comedians. Bruce is most famous for his highly publicized 1964 obscenity conviction, which found well-known personalities like Woody Allen, Allen Ginsberg, and Norman Mailer speaking in support of the stand-up. He was granted a posthumous pardon in 2003. Bruce’s straightforward style and struggles against censorship helped paved the way for other comics. We highlight a few of their stories, below. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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The 50 Funniest Movies Ever Made

Rankings of the funniest movies ever are, it must be said, an inherently personal thing — comedies may well be the most subjective of all films, since everyone has very specific notions of what they find funny. But there’s a fair number of films that we all seem to have agreed are the funniest — so here’s Flavorwire’s picks for the 50 funniest movies of all… Read More

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The Best Muppet Movie Cameos Ever

Fire up your Blu-ray players: The Muppet Movie is out today for your high-definition viewing pleasure. The 1979 family classic set the template for all of the Muppet flicks, with charming songs, big laughs, and a lotta heart. But it was also chock full of adorable celebrity cameos, and that’s a tradition that has continued in the 34 years since its release. After the jump, we’ve picked our favorite celebrity cameos from all of the Muppet movies. … Read More

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Two Television Interviews Spotlight How Richard Pryor Changed Comedy

Tonight, Showtime premieres the excellent documentary “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic.” This piece examines how Pryor changed the face of the modern stand-up comic, via two talk show interviews and a testy exchange with a comedy legend.

November 25, 1974. It is the first day of Richard Pryor’s week-long stint as celebrity co-host of the syndicated daytime Mike Douglas Show. The panel’s key guest is TV legend Milton Berle, there to promote his autobiography. Two segments pass, neither of them terribly memorable; Berle tells some stories, hawks his wares (“This is not a sad book, but there’s a lot of pathos in the book, do you agree on that?”), and tells some jokes, most of them not very good. Pryor laughs pleasantly, and tells the audience, “I’ve been on shows where all those young guys were dying, trying to get laughs, and Milton was there with cards, giving us jokes to help us out.” … Read More

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