Richard Pryor: The pictures, uh, the pictures that yousaw on the TV between the commercials — that’s myfamily. That was my grandmother, the last one.[Applause.] I didn’t want you to think I was sellin’my family or nothin’, you know. Grandmother raised me,you know, used to send me to church and stuff so I’dbe good. But I liked to hang with the winos. I did.’Cause winos know Jesus personally. Very religious,you know. Every wino, you ask ’em, “Where’s Jesus?”[imitates a screaming wino] “JESUS! HE LIVE OVER INTHE PROJECTS!” And I’d stand around watchin’ ’emdirect traffic early Sunday morning. Winos are greatat directin’ traffic, you know.
[as the wino, whistles] “HEY, FOOL! YOU BETTER SLOWTHAT CAR DOWN! DON’T COME DRIVING DOWN THROUGH HERELIKE YOU CRAZY! THIS A NEIGHBORHOOD — THIS AIN’T NORESIDENTIAL DISTRICT! You could have killed that sign,anything! I ain’t a-playin’ with you. I’ll put ahurtin’ on you, boy. Mess with me. [mumbling tohimself, he mimes pulling a bottle from his backpocket, has trouble unscrewing the top] Damn! [drinks,makes a face] Whoooo! Buddy, buddy! [screws the topback on and pockets the bottle while singingwordlessly] Jesus on my mind! [puts index finger tothe side of his nose and blows, repeats with the otherindex finger, gets snot on sleeve, wipes it off on hispants, shakes his head sadly] I ain’t good as I usedto be. [sees something and points] Now, look at him,look at that boy over there, standin’ in the middle ofthe street. Boy’s a stone junkie. Look at him. Used tobe a genius. Used to book the numbers, didn’t needpaper or pencil. Look at him. Now he can’t rememberwho he is. [whistles] Hey, Junior! GET OUT OF THESTREET, BOY! NIGGER, YOU AIN’T NO STOP SIGN! GET OFFTHE STREET! JUNIOR!”
[imitates the junkie, mouth open, head thrown back,face to the sky, straightens up, looks around in apanicked daze] “What’s happenin’?! Hey! What’shappenin’?! I know somethin’ happenin’ ’causeeverything movin’. HEY, OLD DUDE! Pops! You gotanything? I feel bad enough to drink some milk.”
[as the wino] “Yeah, I got somethin’ for ya, boy! Comeon off that street. That narcotic done made you nulland void. Come here, boy. Come here. Nasty, stinkin’devil, you. Whyn’t you get a job, boy, go to work?”
[as the junkie] “Get a job? Go to work? You talkin’ tothe kid, baby. I worked five years in a row when I wasin the joint. I did a nickel, baby. And I can work mytail off, man, pressin’ license plates. That’s right.But where niggers gonna get a job out here pressin’license plates? Huh? I went to the unemploymentbureau… Damn, baby. [falls asleep on his feet,audience applauds, Pryor abruptly wakes up, confused]Was I through? [after a pause, resumes his story] Iwalked to the unemployment bureau, walked downtown –clean, you know what I mean? Walked up to the ladysittin’ in there with a ol’ tiara on her head, typin’tip tip tip tip tip. I said, HEY! She said: [woman’svoice] ‘Ooh ooh!’ I say, Hey! What’s happenin’? Shelooked at my paper: [woman’s voice] ‘You got acriminal record!’ I said, I know that! I’m a criminal!Tell me somethin’ I don’t know. Like where I’m gonnaget a job pressin’ license plates. I slapped the youknow what. She got all upset. [woman’s voice] ‘Ooohooh ooh ooh! Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me!’ I say, Iain’t gonna– Be cool, old lady — you know? I ain’tgonna take no bust for no old lady. Old nigger with agun down there come on: [voice of a cranky old man,slapping his holstered gun with his hand] ‘Hey, what’sthe trouble, buddy? Come on, what’s going on? What’sthe trouble?’ Hey, YOU the trouble, Tex! Who yousupposed to be? Jesse James? Made me sick, man. Ithrew up on the floor. He talkin’ ’bout: [cranky oldman’s voice] ‘Clean it up, baby, clean it up.’ I ain’tcleanin’ no nothin’. If I’d a-wanted it, I’d a-keptit! [Applause.] But I’m hurtin’, baby, you know? Iwent home, y’know. Mama called me a dog. Ma dear, shedid. Daddy say he don’t wanna see me in the vicinity.Just ’cause I stole his television. Wasn’t nothin’ onit. Can you help me out, old dude? Please? I’m sick,man. [sings weakly] Help me make it through the night.
[as the wino] “I’m gonna help you, boy. ‘Cause Ibelieve you got potential. That’s right, you can besomebody ’cause you’re sharp, know what I mean? [takesout bottle, unscrews it, hands it to the junkie] Trysome o’ that. Don’t you drop it, nigger! Put … Slowdown. Just take a sip! Go ahead. [watches junkie takea long swallow] You know somethin’ about football,don’t you? PASS IT! [applause, takes bottle, wipesrim] You know what your problem is? You don’t know howto deal with the white man! You got a white mancomplex. I know how to deal with him. That’s why I’min the position I’m in today.” [drinks from thebottle, makes a face, screws the top back on, andpockets it] Thank you. [Much applause.]
Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
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