Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, Blu-ray (2015)

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, Blu-ray (2015)

The True Story of an American Icon
Actors: Richard Pryor Jr., Mike Epps
Director: Marina Zenovich
Studio: Fresh One Productions/ Magnolia Home Ent. 10806 [2/3/15]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color 1080i
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Additional interviews with Mel Brooks, David Banks, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Willie Nelson, David Steinberg, Lily Tomlin
Length: 83 min.
Rating: ****

Pryor remains an inspiration to many, and not just stand-up comics. He pushed taboos, provoked change and shot himself thru life on the sheer force of his personality. Assisting Emmy-winning director Marina Zenovich were producers Roy Ackerman and Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor. Among the talking heads in the film mostly not in the extras are Dave Chapple, Jennifer Lee Pryor, Jesse Jackson, George Lopez, Paul Mooney, Bob Newheart, Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson and Robin Williams.

This is a portrait of the man behind the laughter. I was a little dismayed that there weren’t more clips of Pryor’s onstage humor, but will certainly rent his Live on the Sunset Strip and what I think is one of the funniest movies around, Stir Crazy. His many drug problems are well-covered, as well as his rough childhood – being raised in a brothel run by his grandmother, where the very first white people he met were white johns who came in.

His coarse language cost him his high-paying Las Vegas stints, and after a trip to Africa he vowed he would never use the word “nigger” again; as a result, this popularity dropped since he wasn’t as funny anymore. Pryor was asked by Mel Brooks to help him write Blazing Saddles (also one of the funniest films ever made) and to star as the black cowboy in it, but the studio was afraid and shot that down to make Cleavon Little the star. (Also, don’t miss Silver Streak.) Pryor went on to do comedy LPs that sold better than any others out there.

Pryor was watching a video of the monk setting himself on fire in the street, poured rum over himself while in a drugged state, and set himself on fire. Somehow he recovered from the third degree burns and came out stronger than before. He was married seven times to five women, having re-married two of them. He died in 2006 of M.S.

—John Sunier

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