It’s April Fools’ Day, ya’ll! No one knows how it got started exactly, but records point to the day being about the change of calendars during harvest and people not getting with the program.
We love April Fools’ Day because of the funny pranks and games used to trick us. Equally, we love the pranksters who make us forget or point out life’s follies, which is why we’ve assembled a gallery of some of the funniest fools on the planet: Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld, to list a few.
Above: Funny man and pioneer Richard Pryor, the architect of stand up comedy. Pryor’s stand up-act was always about the human condition and were often filthy!
Here’s a homework assignment: Listen to any of Pryor’s comedy albums then listen to your favorite comedians. Your favorite comedian borrowed Pryor’s material which dealt with racism, race relations, United States politics, African-American culture, human sexuality, self-deprecation, everyday life and recreational drug use. Here’s another homework assignment: Netflix “Jo Jo Dancer.”
A compilation of Pryor’s stand-up.
TV and radio resembles the Wild West these days with anyone saying and broadcasting whatever bubbles in their brain. But did you know, back in the 1970s, that there were certain words you couldn’t say on TV? George Denis Patrick Carlin did. Carlin was more than a comedian: he was a satirist, a social critic, actor and author with five Grammy Awards under his belt.
When he wasn’t railing against the absurdities of the English language and our government, he was battling supreme court justices and other prudes. Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words” routine got him into trouble in 1977. He was arrested for disturbing the peace when he performed the routine at a show at Summerfest in Milwaukee. In a landmark decision the Supremes ruled 5-4 for the government’s right to regulate indecent material on the airways. FYI: the seven dirty words are… google them.
More after the break.
Flava Flav made our list because of his antics on stage when he’s with his group Public Enemy. When he first burst onto the scene in the 1980s, people thought Flav was a fool because he wore huge clocks around his neck and spazzed out. Flav knew what time it was though. While the accomplished musician was distracting us with his lunacy and ill style, PE’s leader Chuck D was feeding us messages about America and her craziness. Dope. As. Hell.
Known as the Queen of Mean, comedian Lisa Lampenelli is both divisive and funny. Lampanelli’s comedy routine is like a mirror held up to the vast and ugly face that is U.S. racism. In short, she talks about banging black guys, homosexuality and sometimes uses the N word.
“I can get away with it because I’m a nice person, I have a warm personality, my intention is good behind it,” the observational comic has said. “The thing is, people sense when you have the least bit of anger or hate towards a group –– that’s why you never make fun of people you don’t like.”
Actor, comedian, executive producer and writer Jerry Seinfeld played a fictional character of himself on TV for many years. We’re not sure which one is funnier, the fake Seinfeld or the real one. Either way, both their acts deal with observational humor, human behavior and American culture, sometimes bordering on the avant-garde.
Fun Fact: “No Hugs No Lessons” was the mantra of “Seinfeld” the show. Maybe that’s why the real Seinfeld reads as cold? Just sayin.
Actor and comedian Chris Rock is that one friend you got who tells you your breath stinks before offering you a piece of gum. Too bad the gum is a piece of tar.
Like Lampanelli, Rock is an observational comic as well as social critic, oftentimes tackling issues dealing with racism, sexuality, African-American culture, American politics, current events, marriage, pop culture, and race relations. He got his break on “SNL” but left the show in the early 1990s to join “In Living Color,” an improvisational show that got canceled a few months after airing on TV. It wasn’t until “Bring The Pain,” his second show for HBO, that Rock became a household name and was called “The funniest man in America” by Time and Entertainment Weekly.
“My parents assumed I’d get a better education in a better neighborhood,” Rock has said of his education in white schools in Brooklyn. “What I actually got was a worse education in a worse neighborhood. And a whole bunch of ass-whippings.”
Most people today know of Eddie Murphy because of the “Shrek” franchises, but before Murphy went all Hollywood and pretty, he was a funny guy. In the 1980s he was the inheritor of Richard Pryor’s mantle, appearing on “Saturday Night Live” (after Garrett Morris) and starring in funny movies like “Trading Places,” “48 Hours” and “Beverly Hills Cop.”
The photo above is from “Delirious,” one of the funniest Eddie Murphy and stand-up comedy films to hit people’s eyeballs. If you see a stand-up comic wearing a tight leather suit, its because they watched “Delirious.” Cool drinking game: take a shot of tequila every time Murphy says “f**k” and “shit” in “Delirious.” Your ass will forget your own name.