Richard Pryor was born to tell it like it is. From Peoria, Illinois poverty to Hollywood affluence. From abandonment by his mother to adoration from millions. From school class clown to one of the top entertainers of the ‘70s and ‘80s. From tragedy to triumph and back again, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was a legendary stand-up and multi-talented entertainer who reached a broad audience with his keen observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential comedians of all time.
This September, get ready to experience greatness when Time Life releases The Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection: Uncensored. Featuring all of Pryor’s most memorable stand-up and television performances together in one collection for the very first time, the 13-disc collector’s set contains more than 26 incredible hours of comedy. The groundbreaking stand-up, the mesmerizing TV appearances, the NBC show that was too hot for TV, and so much more.
Raw, sometimes shocking and always thrilling, Pryor — a once-in-a-generation innovator — pushed the envelope and was almost single-handly responsible for the comedy evolution that continues to this day. He won an Emmy®, five Grammys®, was the recipient of the very first Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (1998) and in 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him #1 on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.
What We Thought:
If there was a Mt. Rushmore of comedy Richard Pryor would be on it. The man was an absolute legend crossing over with black fans, white fans, all fans. He was a comedic god who was just as funny on stage as he was on TV and in movies. He was simply one of the best and lead the way for many others to follow. The Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection: Uncensored is a must own for comedy fans.
Time/Life has put out some fantastic box sets through the years and this one is no different. It is 13 discs of interviews, comedy, movies, and laughs. Big, big laughs. First of all it contains all four of his full-length concert films – Live & Smokin, Live in Concert, Live on the Sunset Strip, and Here and Now. Have I seen these many times before? Yes, of course. Did I laugh rewatching them again? You better believe it. Pryor knew how to work a crowd, push the right buttons and absolutely slay the audience. You never quite knew where he was going with a story, but you hung on every word. He was a master storyteller especially when he got personal and made fun of himself. He wasn’t talking down himself for admiration, but rather because he knew it was funny. He didn’t mind being his own punchline.
This also features some of his best performances on The Merv Griffin Show, The Dick Cavett Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Even on shows like this where Pryor couldn’t swear or go all-out, he still could get to the edge and bring the house down. It contains exclusive footage of his final performances and a tribute event at The Comedy Store along with documentary films – Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic and I Am Richard Pryor. I had seen I Am Richard Pryor before and absolutely loved it.
What’s also cool is that it comes with Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, the semi-autobiographical film he wrote, produced and directed. It’s about a stand-up comedian named Jo Jo Dancer who severely burned himself while freebasing cocaine which Pryor himself had done years before.
The Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection: Uncensored is utterly fantastic. I never got to see Pryor in his prime, but grew up watching his movies and reruns of his specials. This collection has so much of it in one box set you have to buy it. If you are a Pryor fan get your wallet out and visit TimeLife.com/RichardPryor.