Carlin or Pryor?

Greg Proops on KPCS when asked to pick between Carlin and Pryor:

Pryor's the greatest comic of all time and here's why: Because he was a great actor like Charlie Chaplin or something. He had the ability to make you feel a pathos, a bathos. He could take you on a journey through the darkest depths of the horrible night.

"My mother was a whore. White men would come to my door and say, 'Is your mother here? I want a blow job.'" Huge laugh. That's the saddest joke ever told — ever fucking told.

Carlin isn't that person. He's not trying to escape the grinding poverty of growing up in a whorehouse. He's an astute, different type of person. Carlin I could be in my dreams. I can't be Richard Pryor. He's a genius and his writing is overwhelming. He's a force of nature.

Here's the joke he mentions:

pathos |ˈpāˌθäs; -ˌθôs|
a quality that evokes pity or sadness : the actor injects his customary humor and pathos into the role.

bathos |ˈbāθäs|
(esp. in a work of literature) an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous.


1 Comment(s)

Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

This should be called "Carlin AND Pryor...with emphasis on Pryor" Ranking one artist over another is subjective. What if Pryor stuck around long enough to make the kind of movie role choices Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy do?

Performance-wise I'd rather have Pryor's bravery to talk candidly about his life in a way that makes other people empathize. Writing-wise I'd rather have Carlin's work ethic that cranked out increasingly sharp specials at an amazing rate to the end.

I wouldn't want Pryor's moustache or Carlin's ponytail.

6/1/10, 12:41 PM