The Richard Pryor Show, Vols. 1 & 2 plus Bonus Disc
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Richard Pryor Special?" is clearly the best of the lot. Basically, it's Pryor trying to get to his show and meeting strange characters with varied skit ideas along the way. Some really good stuff like the young children's choir (with future soap star Kristoff St. John) and the drunk lover performance with Maya Angelou.
A lot of the ideas that Pryor brings to the fore are unique, but some are just plain strange, such as the "Pet head" with Charles Fleischer (later Roger Rabbit) and "Black Death", a bizzare goth-rocker who kills all of his fans during a concert (this freaked me out and puzzled me in 1977 and still does today). Much of this humor is based on race relations and the subject gets sort of beaten in the ground after a while.
The edited skits makes one wonder why Pryor filmed such profanity-filled routines knowing that they had no chance of airing (there is a particularly foul moment when Pryor curses heavily during the Audience Q&A when there are clearly children visible in the audience). As he has admitted, Pryor had a bad cocaine habit in those days and it shows in some of these monologues.
However, it's also interesting to see the cast of soon-to-be's such as a very young and glamourous pre-"Night Court" Masrha Warfield, Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, John Witherspoon, Paul Mooney, and Tim Reid. So overall, you can see in this the direction Black comedy was to take from the 1980s into recent times.
It would be nice if "A Time For Laughter," the 1967 special that featured a young Pryor with Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Pigmeat Markham, and Godfrey Cambridge, would also make it to DVD as that was equally as ground-breaking.
The special is a classic comedy hour, with the likes of the Idi Amin Dada segment, the appearance by the Pips sans Gladys Knight, and a priceless skit with Richard and Maya Angelou which perfectly symbolizes how Pryor's approach to comedy may have had a wild, profane surface, but look underneath and you find wry insight and emotive depth that is missing from most of those comics whom he influenced. A rainbow-coalition-like segment with kids singing a Stevie Wonder classic was unique in its era, as was the "Harlem Sweeties" clip featuring a variety of women of color ... six years prior to Vanessa Williams becoming the first black Miss America.
As for the series, things got off on the wrong foot when Pryor's classic "nude" opening segment to the first show was a no-go (it is seen here). Pryor spent much of the four shows getting skit-ready versions of certain aspects of his standup act past censors. No cussing, but pushing the prime time envelope nonetheless. Frankly, a few skits don't work i.m.o. (Mojo The Healer, the Black Death heavy metal music skit), but more often than not the segments are funny and stand the test of time very well (40th president, for one). The supporting cast are seen in spots, but if you are a fan of Robin Williams for one, you may be disappointed by how little he is seen on camera.Read more ›
These four (five) episodes could be edited down to an excellent 60-minute "Best of The Richard Pryor Show" feature, because most of the skits are hit-or-miss. The good sketches make this DVD set deserve some rewatching, but I guarantee that I will use the chapter skip button to avoid some of the less entertaining material.
Unfortunately, I felt that the packaging of this set was designed to be sold at a higher price, due to the fact that it comes in three separate DVD cases instead of the foldout designs used for most TV show collections. I am also doubting it was necessary to put this collection on three discs instead of two. 3+ hour-long movies with a full 5.0 soundtrack can be held on one disc, so it seems like 5 48-or-so minute-long episodes, plus a handful of extras, should be able to fit on two discs.
If you're a huge Richard Pryor fan like I am, I would encourage you to purchase this collection. I was thrilled to be able to see video footage of Pryor's brilliant "Mudbone - Little Feets" bit. If you can get around the seemingly inflated price (which at $30 isn't awful), you'll find some amusement in this collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived on time in perfect condition. The improve out takes with Robin Williams and Sandra Bernhart are priceless.Published 1 month ago by Bionicman
Just love Richard Pryer anyway, and this is some very funny stuff. If you love Richard Pryer, you will love his TV show.Published 2 months ago by KC