DAILY DIRT: The ‘Great Eight’ of comedy led by Richard Pryor


Peoria's own Richard Pryor.

Daily Dirty for Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023

Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 494 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Most of my life I have enjoyed watching stand-up comedians on those late-night talk shows.

Over the years, I developed quiet addictions to certain performers.Remember when every self-respecting family had to have a TV Guide subscription? I used to love the day it came in the mail. I would immediately page through it, looking at the scheduled guests for Johnny Carson, David Letterman or whoever, even jotting down names and days so I would not miss my favorite joke-tellers.

The following comedians have always been must-see TV for me. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that regard.My all-time favorite comedians, a group I refer to as “The Great Eight”:

1. Richard Pryor: Arguably the funniest man to ever walk the face of the earth, Pryor and Robin Williams were cut from the same comedic cloth. The biggest difference was Pryor could bring a crowd to tears in laughter by simply standing still. Williams may have never stood still in his entire life. “Swaggering and vulnerable, boastful and confessional, superheroic and all-too-ordinary, Pryor put everything he was on display,” wrote Matthew Love for Rolling Stone magazine in 2017.
2. Chris Rock: He’s a strange combination of foul-mouthed and infectious, impossible not to like. He’s also a master of provoking unconventional thinking.
3. Don Rickles: “Mr. Wamth” and the “Merchant of Venom” were only two of the nicknames this guy earned over the years. He turned the insult into an art form, and may have been at his absolute finest as a guest on a talk show rather than as a stand-up performer.
4. Robin Williams: Remember the old line about someone being so fidgety he could make coffee nervous? Robin Williams could actually do that. Just watching one of his monologues could be a challenge in itself. 
5. Jerry Seinfeld: Seinfeld’s forte is “observational” comedy, making us take notice of the obvious in a new — and usually hilarious — way. “98 percent of the human endeavor is killing time,” he once offered.
6. George Carlin: He was once called the thinking man’s comedian and his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” from 1972 remain legendary to this day.
7. Bob Newhart: He was always calm, mild-mannered and quite polite. He loved to make fun of himself as much or more than others. Newhart eventually took his schtick to network TV, where he became even more successful — and appreciated.
8. Steven Wright: Wright and Newhart share the throne as undisputed kings of the deadpan one liners. “What do batteries run on?” he once asked.

2. I may not even watch Monday night’s college football championship game.

Yes, I’m still disappointed that my Ohio State Buckeyes lost that 42-41 heartbreaker in the semifinals, but even more telling is what I think will be a colossal mismatch. Sure, I’d love to see the underdog TCU Horned Frogs rise up and stun the mighty Georgia Bulldogs, but it’s simply not going to happen. Prediction: Georgia 55, TCU 21.

3. Be thankful you weren’t on the wrong end of these divorce settlements.

The worst:The divorce settlement between Kennedy family heiress Maria Shriver and former California governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was estimated to be between $250 million and $375 million, CNBC reported. The two were married for 25 years before Shriver filed for divorce in 2011. 

Second worst: The divorce between country music star Garth Brooks and songwriter Sandy Mahl cost the singer nearly $9 million for each year the two were married. The divorce was finalized in December 2001 after 15 years of marriage. As part of the divorce settlement Brooks reportedly paid Mahl $125 million.

Third worst: The separation between golf legend Tiger Woods and former Swedish model Elin Nordegren came with a lucrative divorce settlement. Nordegren reportedly walked away with $100 million after the divorce was finalized in 2010.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — As you’re reading this, I want you to know I have an insatiable desire for a coney with onions. And some cookies for dessert.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Take Georgia and the over.

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