“Saturday Night Live’s” edgiest night: The inside story of Richard Pryor’s brilliant evening – Salon.com

The negotiations stand as a parable for how, after “That Nigger’s Crazy,” Richard leveraged his growing stardom. From one angle, he was being “difficult.” But from another, he was exhibiting a greater mindfulness about the worlds he was now navigating and, even, doing his part to desegregate American culture. He knew that his success as a performer had been driven by a core audience of black fans, and so now he was forcibly integrating Saturday Night’s audience, under the reasonable assumption that it would skew white. He knew that he’d felt at home on The Mike Douglas Show because, as co-host, he had altered the complexion of the ensemble onstage until he was no longer a token presence, and he was committed to do the same with the actors on Saturday Night. Last, he knew that a writers’ room was the incubator of all sketch ideas, so he wanted Paul Mooney as an ally in it. The audience, the stage, the SNL writers’ room—all needed more than a little color if they were to swing away from the educated lunacy of National Lampoon and toward Richard’s sensibility. He would become, on December 13, 1975, the host of the show’s seventh, and unforgettable, episode.

via “Saturday Night Live’s” edgiest night: The inside story of Richard Pryor’s brilliant evening – Salon.com.

via “Saturday Night Live’s” edgiest night: The inside story of Richard Pryor’s brilliant evening – Salon.com.

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