A Comparison of: Richard Pryor and Sinbad Question; Is it what you accomplish that makes one great, or how you accomplish it. Richard Pryor and David Adkins or "Sinbad" are two of the most notorious comedians in American culture, but the lives they lived were on extreme ends of the spectrum. They both started out in or were kind of pushed into comedy when their real hopes and dreams fell short. Both of them served their country in the army for two years, and then jumped on the comedy circuit, traveling the country to play small gigs. Their struggle to become famous was similar in that they both worked extremely hard to get where they wanted to be. Their upbringing was altogether different though.
Sinbad grew up as the son of a minister in Benton Harbor, MI and went to a respectable high school where he excelled in basketball. He attained a scholarship to the University of Denver in hopes that it would open up some doors for him but he was cut off when he suffered a career ending knee injury. In 1983, he embarked on his self-subsidized "Poverty Tour" of comedy clubs across the U.S. His career started to take off, when he made several appearances on the talent show "Star Search". He then landed a few small parts on T.V. show's eventually catching the eye of Bill Cosby who put him on his new show "A Different World" in which he played a kind dorm director at an all black college. This led him into a few starring and co-starring roles in major motion pictures and made the name Sinbad, a household name across the country. If I were to describe Sinbad's style of comedy, I would have to say it to be much different than that of Richard Pryor.
Sinbad's humor is more family oriented. His homegrown humor is comparable to Bill Cosby, and his good hearted party nature is similar to Sammy Davis Jr. He is one who, like Pryor, has used his fame to help bring people together in a positive environment, such as his "Share the Dream" tour of historically black colleges and "The Sinbad Soul Festival" which performs all over the world. Richard Pryor's life on the other hand has been more dramatic than a Greek tragedy. His accomplishments in life are in total opposition with all of the tribulations that he faced to achieve them, beginning with his childhood.
Richard claimed to have grown up in a brothel that his Mother owned. He didn't like what a high school education could offer him, so he dropped out and joined the military for two years. He then began traveling across the U.S., working in nightclubs, he started to make a name for himself. Variety and talk show appearances on T.V. led to occasional movie work, and as censorship barriers began to fall, Pryor began to rise. His blunt, profane, and sharp-eyed style made him hugely popular. His observations about the American lifestyle and the black experience attracted many Americans, of all races, to listen to what he had to say.
This writer thinks that the true genius with in this man was to hide a certain political agenda of advancing the treatment of blacks in America, within his entertainment. For instance in one of the stand up routines that he did Richard Pryor- Live on the Sunset Strip", he mentioned how the jails in Arizona were 90% black and then said that there isn't a black man in Arizona, so how could the jails all be filled with blacks. The words that he used to make a simple statement such as this was brilliant, it wasn't only hilarious and edgy but it made a statement about the upbringing of many blacks in America. Richard Pryor has paved the road for many young comedians to follow and is looked upon as greatness to many comedians after him. Both comedians, with their conflicting styles, gained fame and wealth.
Pryor had many prices to pay for his achievements, such as a cocaine addiction, being hospitalized from 3rd degree burns while freebasing, and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, amongst other tragedies. Where as Sinbad possibly learned from Pryor's life, and decided that isn't what he wanted his life to be like. I quote Sinbad in saying "if you " re not happy before you get famous, than you " re not going to be happy after, because fame just magnifies your problems". (web).