I recently did a post on Star Time celebrating James Brown. The man was at the pinnacle of at least one of the arts (music). I used to harass my pal who became an accredited master of music about the James Brown theory, which argues that an understanding of all music ever can best be delineated as pre- and post-JB.
Talking in such a broadly historical yet abstractly personal terms, there are few artists I exalt to the extent I do James Brown. One I do a little bit more is Richard Pryor, who did even more than Brown to redefine his art (comedy). Regardless of the specificity, his influence is on everybody who has made a joke in the last 40 years, whether they know it or not. Truly revolutionary honesty, ugliness, humanity, and dazzling skill. There are plenty of Pryor clips circulating on the interweb, so seek them out. I just want to share maybe the best routine from what I feel to be the best comedy album ever, "That (Richard Pryor's Favorite Word In The '70s)'s Crazy".