The history of famous comedians, actors, and performers with roots in the truck driving industry is actually very well-documented. There are more than a handful of examples of this, including individuals like Chevy Chase, Liam Neeson, and Elvis Presley.
It’s unclear what allows drivers to make this transition. It could just be by pure volume, as an estimated 1% of the US population is made up of truck drivers. It could also be the fact that truck drivers have a lot of time to sit and think — this could help a guy like Elvis write songs or someone like James Cameron hatch ideas for films. Either way, there is no shortage of talent coming out of the trucking industry.
One profession that isn’t surprising to see is that of a comedian. Truck drivers love their jokes and, as mentioned, have ample time to sit and come up with comedy routines.
Legendary comedian Richard Pryor was a truck driver before joining the Army and leaving as an aspiring actor and comedian
Richard Pryor is long gone — the famous comedian passed away in 2005. Still, he’s known as one of the best comedians of all time, earning the nickname “the Picasso of comedy” from Jerry Seinfeld. Pryor won five Grammy Awards in his career.
What most people don’t know about Pryor is that he was a truck driver before entering the Army. This was a long time ago — he was born in 1940 — but he was still a truck driver, nonetheless. Hotcars.com theorizes that Pryor may have practiced his comedy routines on a CB radio, though it’s unlikely, as they weren’t popular in trucks until the 1970s.
In fact, it may have been the solitude of driving a truck in the early days of the industry that inspired Pryor to follow a more human-interaction-adjacent career path as an actor and a comedian. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what sent him down that career path — it seems like he was destined to be a comedian.
Pryor passed away at age 65.