Mudbone (character)

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Mudbone is a recurring character in Richard Pryor's stand-up shows. Debuting on the 1975 album ...Is It Something I Said?, Mudbone is easily Pryor's most famous creation[1] and made his stand-up shows much more than comedy[opinion]. A wino philosopher born in Tupelo, Mississippi, his character became an instant hit due to his satirical, surreal (and often completely ludicrous) takes on life. While Mudbone's age is not specified, the content of his monologues suggest that he is an ancient, almost immortal person.

His famous monologues usually revolved around his own experiences in life. Famous examples include how he moved from Tupelo, Mississippi to Peoria, Illinois (Pryor's hometown) in a tractor ("746 miles on one tank of gas!"), his brief stint in Hollywood where he auditioned for the lead in King Kong and his humorous adventures shared with his best friend Toodlum who was taken to a Voodoo priestess by the name of Ms. Rudolph ("They named her after that deer!") to seek getting a hex removed which wound up with a totally different result.

Perhaps Mudbone's most philosophical and poignant speech was in Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. During the show, the audience begins to yell "Do Mudbone!" and Pryor reluctantly resurrects the character.[1] He improvised a bit where he talked more about the mysteries of life rather than his past experiences. He even poked fun at Pryor's infamous free-basing incident. Although Pryor told the audience "This is the last time you'll see Mudbone anywhere", he did perform the character on his last Stand-Up Album and Film "Here and Now" talking about relations with women and being in a California jail with a bad case of Crabs and the result of what happened to him after using cologne instead of ointment on them. After that he would occasionally resurrect the character in his final performances before succumbing to Multiple Sclerosis.


  1. ^ a b Als, Hilton (September 13, 1999). "A Pryor Love". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2011-04-10.