Let me emphasize, this is only about stand-up comedy, not any acting gigs.
Who was the funnier comedian? Now George has died, too, and some time has passed, I thought it’d be a good to look at these two again.
Who do you think was the funnier comedian?
Pryor was a lot more animated on stage. He made faces, did voices, acted out his punch lines, etc. He wasn’t as manic as Robin Williams, but he was much more of a “performer” than Carlin. Carline was more laid-back, even in his early standup days. His personna was much more cool than Pryor.
Pryor’s humor to me seemed more personal, while Carlin’s was more observational. Different types of funny, so it really comes down to a matter of what you think is funnier.
One thing I’ll use as a tie-breaker. If you watched a Richard Pryor routine with the sound turned off, you’d probably laugh at least once or twice by what you saw.
In terms of pure funny, Richard Pryor made me laugh out loud more often and consistently. Carlin was more cerebral, but occasionally could make me laugh until I couldn’t breathe.
Carlin did get more bitter and less funny as he got older. Pryor just got sick.
This is a hard one. Two very different kinds of comics, both with very distinct voices and styles who were both top shelf when they were on their game.
I guess I’m going to go with Pryor just for sheer quantity of laughs. I can also remember being able to recite huge chunks of his act with my friends, and I don’t remember doing that so much with Carlin.
Oh, and I voted George Carlin. The man just made me laugh so much.
I loved both, but that concert movie Pryor did around 1980 actually made me fall out of my chair laughing. Ok, so I was high, but so what? Pryor would make you laugh and think but Carlin more on the the think than the laugh, usually a little chuckle.
I went with Carlin, but tomorrow I could pick Pryor. Both are comic geniuses.
Carlin has the edge on making you think. Pryor has the edge on making you wet yourself.
Pryor by a hair (that’s on fire.)
Love George… but Rich and the monkeys… that shit with Jim Brown…
George Carlin in his prime was brilliant, even though he got old and bitter later on.
Even at his alleged peak, Richard Pryor rarely did a thing for me.
Never watched any Pryor but enjoyed some Carlin stuff. I remember enjoying one of Carlin’s books but I don’t know that either of them are really my favorite.
This was a close one, but I ultimately had to go with Pryor. They both made me laugh really hard, but Pryor made it impossible for me not to laugh.
Pryor, both had extremely funny material. In some ways I probably remember some Carlin material better than Pryor’s stuff, but Pryor had the more enjoyable act to actually watch on TV or whatever, and I had a lot more actual laughs watching Pryor than Carlin.
I think Carlin had maybe some of the best material ever, better than Pryor’s, but Pryor’s was almost as good and I think he edges Carlin out in other areas like delivery and on-stage presence so Pryor is better overall.
I’m remembering classic old Pryor stuff now. Remember the wino talking to Dracula?
“You wanna suck what? You can suck yo’ ass on outta here.”
I hope I’m not the only one who remembers Pryor’s after hours sketch. Massively unPC, but piss yourself funny. I’m certain that the character of Vera from Harlem Nights comes from that.
Pryor relied too much on 4 letter words, Carlin used them correctly and cleverly and had a ton of really interesting takes on things.
Carlin was good but Pryor was a genius.
There’s very little I can add to the comments already made and I voted (reluctantly) for Carlin. Both are at the top of the funny list with not many others nearby. The poll(s) we had earlier this year on funny people mostly validated that statement.
What swayed me to Carlin was that Pryor relied on his act as much as his material and if anyone else used his material without the persona to make it work, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as effective, much less funny. Carlin’s material was funnier and relied less on his act, even though his expressions, grimaces and funny faces helped underscore the words. Both could keep you laughing constantly.
As was said upthread by outlierrn, “too close to call.” But I give the edge to George.
Carlin. Both were hilariosly funny, but Pryor relied a little too much on potty humor and cursing. He didn’t NEED that crutch.
Plus Carlin’s cat “I meant to do that” skit is just about my all-time favorite, I haven’t heard it in years and can still recite most of it by heart!