One may conjecture on Bert Williams’ greatness, but there is no question when it comes to Pryor. Ask nearly any comedian and you’ll be told that Pryor is the single most important wonder of the world. In fact, many do just that in the booklet that accompanies this nine-CD set. Robin Williams, Chris Rock and Billy Crystal all line up to testify. But more than testimonials, the bits on these recordings are every bit as important in comedy as the Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five is in jazz.
Today, Pryor is reduced by multiple sclerosis to a skeleton of his former self. This collection reminds you — literally — about when he had some meat on his boney ass. Where Pryor was a poet in his time, today’s comedians just talk dirty. But for all its poetry, I was reminded 20-something years later when my 3-year-old daughter walked into the room while I was listening, that this is adult humor. But seeing as we’re all adults here, turn it up and have a laugh.
Check out other box sets full of music and spoken-word greatness which are stocking the shelves this season.
Larry Gabriel is the Metro Times editor. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.