1 of 2

Sunday (December 10) marks 12 years since iconic comedian Richard Pryor passed away. The radical comic challenged audiences in the 1970s and 1980s with his audacious routines that addressed racism, politics and drug use.

Starting off as a conventional performer like contemporary Bill Cosby, Pryor found more success through his radical and uncompromising takes on a myriad of social issues. Pryor struggled with addiction and other health issues and passed away due to complications with MS in 2005, aged 65.

His work paved the way for another generation of black comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Dave Chappell.

In 2017 Rolling Stone named him as the greatest comedian of all time. Here are just some of his greatest quotes:

On racism

"I went to Zimbabwe... I know how white people feel in America now, relaxed! Cause when I heard the police car I knew they weren't coming after me!"

"I went through every phone book in Africa, and I didn't find one goddamned Pryor!"

On relationships

"Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings... and lawyers."

On health

"Is there a doctor in the audience? No, I'm serious. I want to know if there's a doctor here. Doctor - I need to know one thing. What the [expletive] is MS?"

On drugs

"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."

"I couldn't stop. I put the pipe down. It jumped back in my hand."

On Ronald Regan

"I went to the White House, met the president... We in trouble"

On comedy

"I'd like to make you laugh for about ten minutes. Though I'm gonna be on for an hour."

On youth

"There's nothing worse than being an ageing young person."

On nature

"Have you ever noticed how quiet you get when you go in the woods? It's almost like you know that God's there."