*Hey, there are surprises, and then there are SURPRISES! Like this little ditty which shocked the mess out of me. Did you know that before he became the greatest comedian of all time, Richard Pryor was a singer…and an incredible one at that?
Thanks to an article at deathandtaxesmag.com, upon Pryor’s arrival in New York City in 1963, he was doing all types of stuff to make money. He was performing in and out of comedy and did some singing to make ends meet. He even opened for two folks who would later become icons in their own right: Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.
Below, Simone recalls a Pryor who had an extreme case of stage-fright.
“He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn’t bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down.”
Well, you certainly wouldn’t know that from this performance because, true to what became Pryor form, he belted that song out like the most confident singer ever!
Now, of course you will notice this was pre-mustache days, but you can’t deny Richard held his own singing the Jimmy Cox 1923 standard “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.”
Here’s the video, don’t worry about the dude in the beginning talking about how rough life is, Pryor comes on at about :45 seconds in.