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.
(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.