Did Richard Pryor Invent Black Metal?

Posted by on May 9, 2012


Remember The Richard Pryor Show? It’s ok if you don’t. After all, the show only lasted four episodes back in 1977. However, at a time when there were only three TV networks, the show aired on NBC in the 8pm “family” hour against mega-hits Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. So it’s even more transgressive when watching this eight-minute sketch that aired during the first episode.

Largely wordless, the skit features comedian Richard Pryor as the frontman of “Black Death,” a band that appears to be a hybrid of KISS and Funkadelic with some Jimi Hendrix thrown in. However, looking at it 34 years after the point, it looks like it could have served as visual inspiration for countless other metal bands like Ghost, King Diamond,Immortal, SUNNO))) and others. Hooded figures? Corpse paint? Rising from coffins? It’s all in there.

Musically, the skit is about eight minutes of psychedelic stoner rock with Pryor yelling incomprehensible lyrics. And it ends with him throwing bags of drugs out to the crowd (which includes a young Sandra Bernhard), spraying them with DDT and killing the entire (white) audience. To think this happened on prime time TV in the 8pm hour is pretty amazing. Not to mention the first thing you see after the skit is a midget black Hitler. Not surprisingly, the show wasn’t renewed.

[via Dangerous Minds]

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