Richard Pryor on the N Word

My 11th grade US History teacher turned me on to this bit and I was thinking about it all day so I thought I’d share. I’m not a huge follower of Pryor but I thought this was an important message by one of the comic greats. I saw an interview with Maya Angelou and Dave Chapelle years ago and Angelou described the word as dehumanizing while Chapelle defended its use. As a white man, I can say I never use it for any reason. Just something I thought I’d leave here.

IMO, Pryor did one of the best “white guy” voices I’ve ever heard. Always cracked me up.

And I agree with the thoughts he expressed here.


Richard Pryor was one of the greats. Good comedy is based on absurdity and often touches on controversial topics.

Pryor’s use of that word to a mainstream audience was edgy, but he was taking on a controversial subject with humor. Chapelle is funny, but I’d be OK if the word faded into history.

Pryor was a little bit like Cheech and Chong, leaning into stereotypes with humor.