Racial humor was about 35% of my act when I first started. But I realized that it was a crutch. What brought it home was when another comedian said to me, 'If you changed color tomorrow, you wouldn't have any material.' He meant it as a put-down, but I took it as a challenge.
Now, Richard Pryor was unique. Many misunderstood his humor. He lit up the hallway, but they didn't understand his use of profanity. He didn't use it just to be using it; he used it in the context of his satire.
I cannot understand how the education of this United States of America has been fooled time and time again. Either make it separate but equal or integrate, therefore it will be equal. And it has been separate and unequal.
The problems with kids having short attention spans is driven by entertainment, reset buttons on games, games having to do with getting somewhere and heads blowing up. Everything is 'cut to the chase, cut to the chase.'
We are all anxious to be accepted. But if you have a strong mother and father who tell you that you don't have to dress a crazy way, or hang out with people who are looking for trouble in order to be loved and accepted, then half the battle is over.
When I decided that I wanted to go to college, I wanted to be a school teacher for 7th and 8th grade boys because I felt that was an important time for them. I had gone astray at that point in my life and really wanted to help keep them from making the same mistake I had made.
I'm one of those who cut off seeing people after a certain time, when the weight is gone and they sound like the dementia is very advanced - I don't want to see that. I don't even go in to look at the body. That's not my last memory.
Did you ever see the customers in health - food stores? They are pale, skinny people who look half - dead. In a steak house, you see robust, ruddy people. They're dying, of course, but they look terrific.
As I have discovered by examining my past, I started out as a child. Coincidentally, so did my brother. My mother did not put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak: she gave me a younger brother named Russell, who taught me what was meant by 'survival of the fittest.'
I was 23 years old, a freshman at university, and there I was, on the first day, sitting in a remedial English class. I was so ashamed I almost got up and left, but somehow I knew inside that if I ran away from this, I would hate myself forever.
I'm not going out and hitting a 95-mph fastball where I can't see the stitches. I'm not on a professional football team looking to tackle a fullback who is built like solid wood. I'm a thinking person, and I've been blessed with the ability to see some things and talk about them in a way that registers in a humorous and funny way.
In September of 1960, I was blessed - and I'm not saying blessed in the everyday religious way - when Temple University accepted me after scoring 500 on the SAT. I was 23 years old, and they put me in remedial. I was the happiest remedial person on earth.
Education happens to be something that all people, all cultures, need to embrace. Math, science, the words of the world. To be able to speak and be able to have clarity and to be able to think. Those are the greatest of gifts.
I use the exercise room early, because I don't want to get on the treadmill and everyone's going 'Oh, Bill Cosby,' and then they come around to see how fast I'm walking, and it becomes very competitive.
I think the part of media that romanticizes criminal behavior, things that a person will say against women, profanity, being gangster, having multiple children with multiple men and women and not wanting to is prevalent. When you look at the majority of shows on television they placate that kind of behavior.
Every success story has a parent who says, 'over my dead body.' Every success story has an old person who walks up to you and says, when you're acting the fool, 'you know I worry about you sometimes.'
I want to get violence - I want schools to start from K through 12 to just every day have teachers understand that they don't want to talk about anything that is violent, and they want to explain to the children how bad violence is and how behavior - violent behavior, is something that they really should not practice and think about.
A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he's in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.
My feeling is, personally, I want to die first... because I believe that when you die, your soul goes immediately up for judgment - and I don't want my wife up there first. No, the judgment will be horrendous.
Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes.
On many young actors that don't give their parents proper credit: I'm still waiting for some actor to win, say, an Oscar... and deliver the following acceptance speech: I would like to thank my parents, first of all, for letting me live.
One of the great mistakes that can be made by a man of my age is to get involved in athletic competition with children-unless, of course, they are under six. And even then, stay away from hide-and-seek.
In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage.
I can't even talk the way these people talk. 'Why you ain't?' 'Where you is?' Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
I feel that in-person contact with people is the most important thing in comedy. While I'm up on stage, I can actually put myself into the audience and adjust my pace and tuning to them. I can get into their heads through their ears and through their eyes. Only through this total communication can I really achieve what I'm trying to do.
While fathers are pleasant figureheads, there is a special bond between children and their mothers. 'Do you help your mother clean up the house?' I asked one girl of seven. 'No,' she sweetly replied, 'I help make the mess.' It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it.
I love it when mothers get so mad they can't remember your name. "Come here, Roy, er, Rupert, er, Rutabaga... what is your name, boy? And don't lie to me, because you live here, and I'll find out who you are."
Suddenly, this romantic agony was enriched by a less romantic one: I had to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, I couldn't let her know about this urge, for great lovers never did such things. The answer to "Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?" was not "In the men's room, Julie.
When the child is twelve, your wife buys her a splendidly silly article of clothing called a training bra. To train what? I never had a training jock. And believe me, when I played football, I could have used a training jock more than any twelve-year-old needs a training bra.
The childless experts on child raising also bring tears of laughter to my eyes when they say, I love children because they're so honest. There is not an agent in the CIA or the KGB who knows how to conceal the theft of food, how to fake being asleep, or how to forge a parent's signature like a child.
we cannot afford to settle for being just average; we must learn as much as we can to be the best that we can. The key word is education - education with maximum effort. Without it, we cannot be in charge of ourselves or anyone else.
The measure ov overexposure is not how many times people see you on TV or in the bookstores. It's whether you can maintain the quality of your entertainment. If you can, people will always be glad to see you.
A white person listens to my act and he laughs and he thinks, 'Yeah, that's the way I see it too.' Okay. He's white. I'm Negro. And we both see things the same way. That must mean that we are alike..... So I figure I'm doing as much for good race relations as the next guy.
I watch an awful lot of television, and I get a little tired of what I see... We have about six television sets in our house, and it's less expensive for me to do a television series than it is for me to throw them all out.
There are certain times of the day when you need a balance - that is, your protein and your carbs. I'm a Barry Sears man. I believe that anything green is a carb, and I need 2:1. Two of the carbs to one of the protein.
What kept me out of trouble is going right to the edge and then... thinking that my mother would be embarrassed, and that I didn't want to embarrass her, and that my father would be embarrassed, and I just didn't want to do that to my family.
I don't have a problem believing in God and Jesus. But in Genesis one has to wonder about these sentences that just go on and end without finishing. The thought is unfinished. Where did Adam go? What is he doing? Hello? There has to be some pages missing.
As a comedian, I can walk out in front of 5000 people and not worry about a thing. Not a thing, believe me. But to stand up a face a camera and crew of maybe 15 guys and get up tight about it - to me that's weird.
My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, âYou know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don't make no difference to me, I'll make another one look just like you.
A father... knows exactly what those boys at the mall have in their depraved little minds because he once owned such a depraved little mind himself. In fact, if he thinks enough about the plans that he used to have for young girls, the father not only will support his wife in keeping their daughter home but he might even run over to the mall and have a few of those boys arrested.
The beautiful thing about older people is their ability to cut the fat off of conversation. When they talk, they don't go on forever and ever. They say what they have to say, and that's it. That was my grand dad. Some of the things he said stunned me, but his words were logical. I'll never forget them.
I recently turned fifty, which is young for a tree, mid-life for an elephant, and ancient for a quarter-miler, whose son now says, "Dad, I just can't run the quarter with you anymore, unless I bring something to read."
It doesn't make any difference how much money a father earns, his name is always Dad-Can-I.... Like all other children, my five have one great talent: they are gifted beggars. Not one of them ever ran into the room, looked up at me, and said, "I'm really happy that you're my father, and as a tangible token of my appreciation, here's a dollar.
The mother may be doing ninety percent of the disciplining, but the father still must have a full-time acceptance of all the children. He never must say, "Get these kids out of here; I'm trying to watch TV." If he ever does start saying this, he is liable to see one of his kids on the six o'clock news.
Some authority on parenting once said, "Hold them very close and then let them go." This is the hardest truth for a father to learn: that his children are continuously growing up and moving away from him (until, of course, they move back in).
Now, this is the fun part about getting stoned. They get stoned, then they become paranoid. Now, when they started out, they said, "Let's get high and have fun." So they're high; now they're paranoid. "Am I falling out of this chair?"
My father wanted me to play pro football, and he didn't like the fact that I'd left school. And he said, "It takes a man to play football. And any fool can go up on the stage and make an ass of himself.
Public education is a good foundation on which to build a better life for each of us. And if we want to prove to these children who never made the mess in the first place that education is worth the trouble, our schools have to inspire them so they can do what they ought to do.
Guys standing around and talking about Spanish fly: 'You know anything about Spanish fly?' 'No, tell me about it.' Well there's this girl Crazy Mary, you put some in her drink man, she, 'Haaaaaaaaaaaaah.' Oh yeah, that's really groovy man, Spanish fly is groovy, yeah. From then on, any time you see a girl: 'Wish I had some Spanish fly.' Go to a party see five girls standing alone: 'Boy if I had a whole jug of Spanish fly, I'd light that corner up over there. HAAAAAAH.'
When you're a father you censor yourself. You get just as angry with a child but you don't want to say, "What the filth and foul and I'll filth and foul, filth and foul and, yeah, ya filth and foul face, and I'll filth and foul, foul, filth!" You don't want to say that to a child so you censor yourself and you sound like an idiot: "What the... Get your... I'll put a... Get out of my face!"
My grandpa didn't believe in hugging and kissing, or saying I love you. His love had to do with the way he treated you. When he said, We're going here, we're going there, he was telling me about life. That was his love for me. My love for him was listening to what he said, keeping out of trouble, doing right, being fair.
...among the guitarists, Wes Montgomery is fantastic. He's always good to let you know what the art form is all about. It's the same still life that everybody is painting, but in comes Wes Montgomery, and it's right there!
If you listen carefully to what a child is saying to you, you'll see that he has a point to make. So I listen. And I answer them just as seriously as possible. And if I don't know the answer, I'll tell them I don't know.
We spoke to God about the children, and we were afraid to ask God for specific things. We thought that it might be too much. So we said to God 'Please give us a healthy child' and left it at that, not knowing that God is a generous God, but also has a sense of humor. And if you leave that much open for God, some wonderful jokes are going to come about.
Iâm supposed to figure out if the glass is half full or half empty,â I told her. Without a momentâs hesitation, in a split second, my grandmother shrugged and said: âIt depends on if youâre drinking or pouring.
...it was the arts, those noble expressions of the human spirit that are communicated through literature, dance, song, film, drama, painting and sculpture, among the many other such creative means, that helped articulate the sufferings of [these] people that were heard around the globe.
Anecdote: In a controversial way, Comedian and actor Bill Cosby sought to teach his son the pain of being lied to. Convinced his son had been dishonest regarding an issue, Cosby promised that if he told him the truth, he would not hit him. When his son did confess, Cosby did hit him. Seeing his son's shock and hurt, Cosby said he hoped this lesson had deepened his understanding of the anguish generated by a sense betrayal.
My dad came over to the house... went into his pocket and pulled out a handful of money, and began to pass it out to the children... This was the same man who, when I was his child, I would ask him for 50 cents, this man would tell me his life's story.
The game of chess. Supposedly men made it up, and it's about war and men and the ravages and the bravery and the genius of commanding and moving pieces and ... No. It's marriage. The Queen moves anywhere she wants.
Listen to John Coltrane enough and after two bars, just two bars at any place, and you know that's him. We all have signature things that happen to be similar that you can predict and you try to stay away from that except the rhythms: those pauses, they're part of my signature, the part where I know when I say nothing, I already painted enough, led enough and I don't even have to say anything. But those pauses don't belong to me. Jack Benny was one of the first guys in comedy to make the anticipation so great that during the pause people start to laugh before the execution.
I didn't like what was on TV in terms of sitcomsÂit had nothing to do with the color of themÂI just didn't like any of them. I saw little kids, let's say 6 or 7 years old, white kids, black kids. And the way they were addressing the father or the mother, the writers had turned things around, so the little children were smarter than the parent or the caregiver. They were just not funny to me. I felt that it was manipulative and the audience was looking at something that had no responsibility to the family.
A person with no children says, "Well I just love children," and you say "Why?" and they say, "Because a child is so truthful, that's what I love about 'em - they tell the truth." That's a lie, I've got five of 'em. The only time they tell the truth is if they're having pain.