In Scrooged, there is a scene depicting Frank Cross dumping a bucket of water on a waiter after he thinks that the waiter is on fire.

Frank is having hallucinations upon waiting for the ghost of Christmas past. He is trying to alert everyone because Frank believes that the waiter is actually on fire. Frank runs to the waiter and dumps water on him. Immediately after he dumps water on the waiter, he tells him that he thought that he was Richard Pryor.

I'm sorry. I thought you were Richard Pryor.

The waiter was white. I didn't understand the Richard Pryor reference. I'm sure that this was some sort of joke, I just don't know what the joke would be.

What was the reference about Richard Pryor supposed to mean?


1 Answer 1


In 1980 Richard Pryor set himself on fire while free-basing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum. He ran down his street in Northridge, Calif., until subdued by police. He even joked about it years later in his stand up comedy routine:

He waved a lit match around and asked the audience "What's this? It's Richard Pryor running down the street."

Richard Pryor sets self on fire

Richard Pryor - Wikipedia

  • 4
    Who joked about it in a standup comedy routine? Richard Pryor??
    – Wildcard
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 6:26
  • 1
    @Wildcard, yes, according with the wikipedia link.
    – bitcell
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 10:27
  • 1 up because I just learned a new word - "freebasing" Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 14:50
  • 1
    Just because it's required viewing, here's a link to Richard telling the joke.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:46
  • 2
    Well, really a lot of standup comedians joked about Richard Pryor setting himself on fire. Pryor was smart enough to realise that when a comedian has become the butt of other people's jokes, the only way they can come out on top is to join in.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 17:03

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