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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Richard Pryor Jr!

I first met Richard Pryor Jr at the Metropolitan Room where we sat next to one another at Denise Spann-Morgan's table. Though I'm from a working class childhood, we became fast friends. Richard is very down to earth and warm and friendly. I am so happy to announce he is my first interviewee of 2016! Thank you, Richard!

Buddy Beaverhausen: Welcome, Richard! How was your Christmas?
Richard Pryor Jr: Quiet, just what I wanted this year. Exhausted.

BB: I'm sure readers want to know about your growing up with a famous dad. Looking back, do you consider your childhood a privileged one? And did you realize it at the time?
RPJ: I was raised by my mom so there was no sense of being rich or privileged in any sense growing up. In fact, there were times that we were poor, actually.

BB: I understand you loved your father very much, so I don't think you'll be writing a Daddy Dearest-type memoir. But have you ever considered writing a memoir about you & your father?
RPJ: I'm working on one now, actually. It will be a positive but honest account of him.

BB: I met you at Melba Moore's show at the Metropolitan Room, at Denise Spann-Morgan's table. How do you know Denise?
RPJ: I just met her for the first time the night we met at Melba's show! But we've quickly become friends.

BB: Why do you make New York City your home?
RPJ: The energy! NYC is so vibrant! The shows! My God, it's awesome here!

BB: You look so much like your dad. Do you hear that a lot?
RPJ: All the time. And I take it as a compliment.

BB: As an openly gay man, tell us how your folks felt when you broke the news to them.
RPJ: My dad was cool with it. I don't think it was what he wanted for me because he had an idea how difficult it might make my life. I think my mom had a harder time because of the guilt trip. You know, "What did I do, raising you, that made you gay?"

BB: Tell us something about your dad that might surprise us.
RPJ: He was very quiet in private life. An introvert. He wasn't someone who needed to be "on" all the time. Neither am I.

BB: He was a multiple Grammy winner and an Emmy winner. But he also had his demons, which were never a secret. Where were you during the notorious freebasing accident?
RPJ: With my mom, but I went to visit him in the hospital as soon as I found out. But I've struggled with my own demons, including drug addiction, in the past myself. So I don't judge.

BB: Your father was married five times. Have you met all the wives, and what is your opinion of them?
RPJ: I liked them all, with the exception of the last one. She's been very difficult to get along with and has annoyingly superior attitude.

BB: You're an entertainer in your own right. Is that correct? Tell us about that, please.
RPJ: I'm an actor, a singer and I've directed. I'm currently putting together a show I'm hoping to bring to the Metropolitan Room. I'm also recording a cd.

BB: Would you talk about Lipstick Goes on Last?
RPJ: That was a show I did in Chicago in which I played a closeted gay man who enjoyed dressing up in drag. Acting is just that.

BB: Any resolutions for the new year?
TPJ: To be happy, to move forward with my life, and to enjoy life more, generally.

BB: Richard, thank you for your time. Hope you're having a happy holiday season!
RPJ: You too, Buddy!

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