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60 Controversial Richard Pryor Quotes To Make You Think

Daring, genius, downright hilarious: these are only a few of the many words that can describe legendary comedian Richard Pryor. Today, we have compiled some of the most memorable Richard Pryor quotes from the award-winning comedian below. 

What’s your favorite Richard Pryor film?

Richard Pryor began his comedic career as a staple in the New York City comedy club scene in the early 1960s. He began to reach national acclaim by appearing on a string of television shows including The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show.

Pryor’s over 40-year long career includes over 20 comedy albums and appearances in dozens of movies. He is regarded by many as one of the best stand-up comedians of all time, including Comedy Central, which voted him number 1. 

Check out these Richard Pryor quotes highlighting some of his funniest, most relatable, and most controversial moments, below!

We also have a collection of Rodney Dangerfield quotes and famous one-liners. Don’t forget to also read that.

Funny Richard Pryor quotes

1. “There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at.” – Richard Pryor

2. “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” – Richard Pryor

3. “I don’t want to go through life as a Wonder Wheel murderer!” – Richard Pryor

4. “I’m not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells.” – Richard Pryor

5. “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” — Richard Pryor

6. “There’s nothing worse than being an aging young person.” – Richard Pryor

7. “I had to stop drinking, ‘cause I got tired of waking up in my car driving ninety.” – Richard Pryor

8. “I’d like to make you laugh for about ten minutes though I’m gonna be on for an hour.” – Richard Pryor

9. “I went through every phone book in Africa, and I didn’t find one god damned Pryor!” – Richard Pryor

10. “All humor is rooted in pain.” – Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor quotes about relationships

11. “I don’t see myself getting married again, but if I do, it will be forever.” – Richard Pryor

12. “I just don’t want to die alone, that’s all. That’s not too much to ask for, is it? It would be nice to have someone care about me, for who I am, not about my wallet.” – Richard Pryor

13. “I think about being married again, having a home and a wife. No one can ever be married too many times, and maybe if I keep trying I’ll get it right one day.” – Richard Pryor

14. “If you want a friend, you don’t buy a friend. You earn a friend through love and trust and respect.” — Richard Pryor

15. “Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings… and lawyers.” – Richard Pryor

16. “Sure, I have friends, plenty of friends, and they all come around wanting to borrow money. I’ve always been generous with my friends and family, with money, but selfish with the important stuff like love.” – Richard Pryor

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Richard Pryor quotes about life

17. “Everyone carries around his own monsters.” – Richard Pryor

18. “I won’t talk about what it was like in prison, except to say I’m glad I’m out and that I plan never to go back and to pay my taxes every day.” – Richard Pryor

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19. “There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing you can imagine. Now I struggle for peace.” – Richard Pryor

20. “Imagine people calling you to find out if you’re dead. I’ve led a real crazy life at times, and I’ve had many strange things happen to me, but that was one of the strangest.” – Richard Pryor

21. “I know that if I wasn’t scared, something’s wrong, because the thrill is what’s scary.” – Richard Pryor

22. “Have you ever noticed how quiet you get when you go in the woods? It’s almost like you know that God’s there.” – Richard Pryor

23. “When you ain’t got no money, you gotta get an attitude.” – Richard Pryor

24. “If I thought about it, I could be bitter, but I don’t feel like being bitter. Being bitter makes you immobile, and there’s too much that I still want to do.” – Richard Pryor

25. “Hawaii is the best form of comfort for me. When I die, I want to be cremated, and I want half my ashes spread in the Pacific around the island, the rest on the property.” – Richard Pryor

26. “I believe in divine forces and energies.” – Richard Pryor

27. “I believe the ability to think is blessed. If you can think about a situation, you can deal with it. The big struggle is to keep your head clear enough to think.” – Richard Pryor

28. “It’s been a struggle for me because I had a chance to be white and refused.” – Richard Pryor

29. “A lie is profanity. A lie is the worst thing in the world. Art is the ability to tell the truth.” – Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor about society

30. “There’s a lot more hypocrisy than before. Racism has gone back underground.” – Richard Prior

31. “You work your butt off and somebody says you can’t have your record played because it offends them. Tyrants are made of such stuff.” – Richard Pryor

32. “The black groups that boycott certain films would do better to get the money together to make the films they want to see, or stay in church and leave us to our work.” – Richard Pryor

33. “I see people as the nucleus of a great idea that hasn’t come to be yet.” – Richard Pryor

34. “I urge you to ask yourself just how honorable it is to preside over the abuse and suffering of animals.” – Richard Pryor

35. “I went to Zimbabwe. I know how white people feel in America now; relaxed! Cause when I heard the police car I knew they weren’t coming after me!” – Richard Pryor

36. “Now they’re calling taking drugs an epidemic, that’s ‘cause white folks are doing it.” – Richard Pryor

37. “I’m for human lib, the liberation of all people, not just black people or female people or gay people.” – Richard Pryor

38. “Rosa Parks showed us all that one little person can make a whole bunch of noise without so much as a whisper. She showed the world that the color of your skin shouldn’t determine what part of the bus you sit in… as you ride through life.” – Richard Pryor

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39. “The way I see it, the earth is going to be here after we’re dead and gone. Even if it’s a polluted planet, and they messed it up. Where do they go from here – to another planet so they can mess that up too?” – Richard Pryor

40. “What I am for is justice for everyone, just like it says in the Constitution.” – Richard Pryor

41. “I’m not for integration and I’m not against it.” – Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor quotes about career

42. “I became a performer because it was what I enjoyed doing.” – Richard Pryor

43. “Movies are movies, and I don’t think any of them are going to hurt the moral fiber of America and all that nonsense.” – Richard Pryor

44. “I ain’t no movie star, man. I’m a booty star.” – Richard Pryor

45. “I can’t just say the words, do a lot of one-liners. I love each person I play; I have to be that person. I have to do him true.” – Richard Pryor

46. “A sold-out house my first night back. Do you have any idea what kinda pressure that is? I could have been at home in my warm bed, playing Nintendo.” – Richard Pryor

47. “What I’m saying might be profane, but it’s also profound.” – Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor quotes about upbringing

48. “I was a loner and never hung out with anyone. I never had any friends.” – Richard Pryor

49. “I was kicked out of school because of my attitude. I was not assimilating. So I went to work, taking any jobs I could get.” – Richard Pryor

50. “Even when I was a little kid, I always said I would be in the movies one day, and damned if I didn’t make it.” – Richard Pryor

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More Richard Pryor quotes

51. “I realized this is what God has dealt me, and I should be thankful considering all that’s happened to me in my life, but MS caused the movies to stop – stop dead – and I miss it.” – Richard Pryor

52. “Yes, I’m religious. God has shown me things, made certain ways clear to me.” – Richard Pryor

53. “I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, I wanna grow up and be a critic.” – Richard Pryor

54. “I think about dying. I’ve come to realize we all die alone in one way or another.” – Richard Pryor

55. “I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying till I get it right.” – Richard Pryor

56. “Friends take up time, and I didn’t have time.” – Richard Pryor

57. “You can’t talk about fucking in America, people say you’re dirty. But if you talk about killing somebody, that’s cool.” – Richard Pryor

58. “But thoughts don’t care about truth and shit. They sit up in your mind and fuck with you whenever.” – Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor quotes about his life

59. “Someone called all the newspapers in New York and told them I’d died. I’ve been told by almost everyone it was an ex-wife – I’ve had a few so it’s hard to pinpoint which one – but who knows for sure?” –Richard Pryor

60. “Do you know how you felt when you would lean all the way back in a chair, and just before you were about to tip over, at the very last second, you’d catch yourself? That’s how I feel all the time.” –Richard Pryor

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61. “I had some great things and I had some bad things. The best and the worst…In other words, I had a life.” –Richard Pryor

62. “You don’t have to be smart.  You don’t have to be beautiful.  All you have to do is be yourself.”  –Richard Pryor

63. “Booty is just a ghetto expression and I’m just a booty star.”  –Richard Pryor

64. “You don’t get to be old bein’ no fool.” –Richard Pryor

65. “Comedy rules! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, and there are no rules in stand-up comedy, which I really like. You can do anything you want and you can say anything that comes to mind, just so long as it’s funny.” –Richard Pryor

66. “It’s easy to love somebody.” –Richard Pryor

67. “I bought my parents a home before they died, and they got to see that I was going to be all right. They always thought I would go someplace.” –Richard Pryor
68. “It’s so much easier for me to talk about my life in front of two thousand people than it is one-to-one.” –Richard Pryor

Other Richard Pryor Quotes

69. “I was an only child.” – Richard Pryor

70. ” I’ve never taken the easy way. Even when it seemed easy, it wasn’t easy…” – Richard Pryor, ‘Pryor Convictions’

71. “I’m slower and some days are better than others, but I’m a fighter.” – Richard Pryor

72. “I’’m a real defensive person, because if you were sensitive in my neighborhood you were something to eat.” – Richard Pry

73. “To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn’t know what they were talking about… And the doctor said, Don’t worry, in three months you’ll know. So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn’t get up… Your muscles trick you; they did me.” – Richard Pryor

74. “Freebase? What’s free about it?” – Richard Pryor

75. “Unfortunately, the show’s success comes at the expense of its biggest asset — the comedians themselves.” – Richard Pryor

76. “He’s just always positive. He’s always smiling and he’s always trying.” – Richard Pryor

77. “I wanna grow up and be a critic.” – Richard Pryor

78. “Two things people throughout history have had in common are hatred and humour. I am proud that I have been able to use humour to lessen people’s hatred.” – Richard Pryor

What do you like about Richard Pryor’s unique brand of comedy?

Modern comedians, regardless of race, religion, or gender, find inspiration in the career of Richard Pryor. Pryor’s comedy remains relevant today because he isn’t afraid to be controversial. Within controversy is the truth, and Richard Pryor wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Comedian Damon Wayans once called Pryor a trailblazer, stating, “As a young black man he was saying what he felt, and was shocking.” 

Pryor related deeply to many communities that felt like they were being silenced. His strong voice helped others navigate their own lives, while finding humor at the end of it all. 

What’s your favorite Richard Pryor quote from above? Do you have any other quotes to add to the list? Drop us a comment!

Nia Simone McLeod
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