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DVD Review - Richard Pryor Show

Like Mike
Like Mike
Richard Pryor Show

Richard Pryor is a comedian I have heard a lot about and thought I knew a decent amount about, while at the same time having never really seen much of his work. I remember seeing some of his films when I was a kid, but the person who stuck in my mind more from those was his co-star, Gene Wilder, who was of course Will Wonka, who was a big influence on me growing up. But one thing I have heard a lot over the years from stand up comedians is Pryor’s name at the top of the list as being either the ‘groundbreaker’ when it came to a new more raw style of stand up, or just the ‘best’ of all time. So when I had a chance to check out his TV show I thought it was time to get myself more acquainted with this man.

“The Richard Pryor Show lasted four episodes during the 1977 season. It was a far cry from the goofy, cookie cutter, "bad comedy skits with songs", type of variety show that dominated the airwaves of the day. Pryor's program was a true variety show, featuring an unpredictable mix of satire, social commentary, conceptual comedy, improvisation, slapstick, and the occasional dramatic bit. From the start, the show faced controversy about its time slot and subject matter.”

There has always been one quote from Pryor, which I read a few years back and has stuck in my mind, saying he’s now passed the torch onto the current age comedian Dave Chappelle, who I think is a genius, and it wasn’t until seeing this show that I really got the meaning of this statement. Considering this show was made in the late 70’s it is very clearly groundbreaking in its content and delivery. It moves so effortlessly from comedy and drama through to social commentary. It is unique and in some places rather poignant, and now seeing the modern age guys doing their thing, it’s easy to see why so many hold Pryor up as high as they do. Although it’s not for everyone, if you’re a deep thinker then I believe you too will appreciate what he was trying to do with the show.

9 out of 10 from me.

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