March 10, 2004
Richard Pryor's Wife Has a Posse
A few months ago I posted some comments about "I Ain't Dead Yet," Comedy Central's tribute to Richard Pryor, produced by his wife Jennifer Lee Pryor. Although I enjoyed the show, I mentioned that Mrs. Pryor injected too much of herself into the program, for my tastes.
Well evidently Mrs. Pryor googled herself this weekend and was none too happy with what she found here, pounding out this reply:
Injecting far too much of myself? SInce I have known RIchard intimately since 1977 and have such wonderful stories-the obvious was to interview myself-and all the comments thus far were that people wanted more! I have no beef with Mooney except Comedy Central didn't want him because he is so common a talking head when it comes to RIchard. When I produce a longer doc, perhaps I will use him.Your comments smack of racism-and at the very least, lack of intelligence!
This was immediately followed by another post from Jennifer, and then one purporting to be from Richard himself, inviting me to check out his website. Soon after came two posts from what are obviously friends of Mrs. Pryor, whom she asked to come in and back her up.
The first of these two friends was a Veronica James, and I emailed the address posted to confirm that she actually existed, and ask how she was connected to Mrs. Pryor. We exchanged several e-mails in which she vehemently insisted she doesn't know Jennifer, and that it was only a coincidence she appeared so soon after Mrs. Pryor to sing her praises and add a charge of sexism to Jennifer's racism angle.
But what Veronica didn't know is that I had already checked my server's logs, and found that her post not only came minutes after the ones from Jennifer and (supposedly) Richard, it actually came from the exact same IP address, a Roadrunner account in Southern California. Veronica's first e-mail also came from the same place, presumably Jennifer's home or office, sent over Roadrunner via AOL's webmail service. Therefore I already knew what Veronica was doing, and I just wanted to see if she would be up front about it. She wasn't.
So to Jennifer: if you're reading this, I appreciate your explanation of Paul Mooney's unfortunate absence from the program. As a whole I thought your program was actually fairly good, and I missed the first 5 or 10 minutes, so perhaps seeing the show in its entirety would have put your segments in their proper context.
But based on what I did see, I thought it would have been better with a bit less of you in it, and I see no reason to apologize for expressing that opinion. Your suggestion that my comments were motivated by racism doesn't make much sense to me, since numerous whites other than yourself were prominently featured on the program, and I had no complaint about any of them (or the other females featured).
I have no beef with you, and I wish you nothing but the best. But if you're going to put yourself out there for public consumption you need to be ready for some negative feedback, that's the cost of doing business. Lashing out at anyone who criticizes you with groundless counter-accusations and insults only makes you look petty. Look at it this way: you're on TV getting paid, and I'm at home watching you! There's no reason to get this worked up over my opinion.
And to Jennifer's posse: Did you guys really think you were fooling anybody, popping up right after Jennifer in a page that had been silent for months, to shower her with adulation? I can totally understand wanting to stick up for your friend, but next time you should just be honest about it.