The winner is...
George Carlin vs. Richard Pryor
George Denis Patrick Carlin was born on May 12th, 1937, in Manhattan, New York. He was a stand-up comic, actor, and author. He became known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. One of his most famous routines, a monologue titled “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”, was central to the FCC v. Pacifica Foundation U.S. Supreme Court case that helped define the extent to which the federal government could regulate speech on broadcast television and radio in the United States.
Carlin had also appeared in several films, known for such movie roles as Rufus from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Fillmore from Cars along with his television role as the voice of the narrator/Mr. Conductor for the Thomas the Tank Engine series.
His final HBO special, It’s Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before he passed away from cardiac arrest. He was later posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was also ranked second in two lists of best comedians each by Comedy Central and the Rolling Stone magazine
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was born on December 1st, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois. He was a stand-up comedian and actor. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time.
Pryor’s body of work includes the concert movies and recordings: Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’, …Is It Something I Said?, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, and Richard Pryor: Here and Now. As an actor, he starred mainly in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramas, such as Paul Schrader’s Blue Collar, or action films, such as Superman III. He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. Another frequent collaborator was actor/comedian/writer Paul Mooney.
Pryor won an Emmy Award and five Grammy Awards. In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. The first-ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was presented to him in 1998. He was listed at number one on Comedy Central’s list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him first on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.
Surprise Rapper #1
William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. was born on July 12th, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author. He held an active career for over six decades before being convicted and imprisoned for sex offenses in 2018.
Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic at the hungry i in San Francisco during the 1960s. He then landed a starring role in the television show I Spy, followed by his own sitcom The Bill Cosby Show, which ran for two seasons from 1969 to 1971. In 1972, using the Fat Albert character developed during his stand-up routines, Cosby created, produced, and hosted the animated comedy television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids which ran until 1985, centering on a group of young friends growing up in an urban area. Throughout the 1970s, Cosby starred in about a half-dozen films, and occasionally returned to film later in his career. In 1976, he earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.
Beginning in the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in the television sitcom The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992 and was rated as the number one show in America for 1985 through 1989. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family. Cosby produced the spin-off sitcom A Different World, which aired from 1987 to 1993. He also starred in The Cosby Mysteries from 1994 to 1995 and in the sitcom Cosby from 1996 to 2000, and hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things from 1998 to 2000. He also appeared in a number of films such as Ghost Dad and Jack alongside Robin Williams.
Cosby’s reputation was tarnished during the mid-2010s by numerous women who made sexual assault accusations against him; the earliest accusations date back decades. More than 60 women have accused him of either attempted assault, rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct, which he had denied, and the statute of limitations had by then expired in nearly all cases. After a year-long trial, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to three to ten years in prison in September 2018. However, procedural miscues were later discovered; and on June 30, 2021, Cosby’s conviction was overturned, thus releasing him from prison. As of December 2022, Cosby again faces allegations of sexual misconduct from women who worked on The Cosby Show during its run.
Surprise Rapper #2
Joan Alexandra Molinsky was born on June 8th, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. Known professionally as Joan Rivers, she was a comedian, actress, writer, producer, and television host. She was noted for her often controversial comedic persona—heavily self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians.
Rivers rose to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show. Hosted by her mentor, Johnny Carson, the show established Rivers’ comedic style. In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show. She subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show, winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. From the mid-1990s, she became known for her comedic red carpet awards show celebrity interviews, and in 2009, she was the Celebrity Apprentice Winner. Rivers co-hosted the E! celebrity fashion show Fashion Police from 2010 to 2014 and starred in the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? with daughter Melissa Rivers. She was the subject of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.
In addition to marketing a line of jewelry and apparel on the QVC shopping channel, Rivers authored 12 best-selling books and three LP comedy albums under her own name: Mr. Phyllis And Other Funny Stories, The Next To Last Joan Rivers Album, and What Becomes A Semi-Legend Most?. She was nominated in 1984 for a Grammy Award for her album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?; and was nominated in 1994 for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance of the title role in Sally Marr … and Her Escorts. In 2015, Rivers posthumously received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her book, Diary of a Mad Diva.
In 1968, The New York Times television critic Jack Gould called Rivers “quite possibly the most intuitively funny woman alive”. In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her sixth on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time, and in October the same year, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Rivers’ death on September 4, 2014 was attributed to complications from a medical procedure on her throat. Her daughter Melissa filed suit for malpractice, and her case was settled in 2016.
Surprise Rapper #3
Robin McLaurin Williams was born on July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. He was an actor and comedian who is known for his improvisational skills and the wide variety of memorable character voices he created.
During the mid-1970s, Williams began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is credited with leading San Francisco’s comedy renaissance. After rising to fame playing the alien Mork in the sitcom Mork & Mindy, which was spun off from Happy Days, Williams established a career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting.
After his first starring film role in Popeye, Williams starred in numerous films that achieved critical and commercial success, including The World According to Garp, Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, Aladdin, The Fisher King, Jack, Patch Adams, One Hour Photo, and World’s Greatest Dad, as well as box office hits, such as Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Good Will Hunting, and the Night at the Museum trilogy. Williams had been nominated four times for the Academy Awards, but has only won one for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as psychologist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. He also received two Primetime Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Grammy Awards.
On August 11th, 2014, Williams committed suicide in his Paradise Cay, California home at age 63. His wife attributed his suicide to his struggle with Lewy body disease.
Let the battle begin
- George Carlin
- Richard Pryor
- Surprise Rapper 1
- Surprise Rapper 2
- Surprise Rapper 3