If Richard Pryor was a comedy Superman, television was his kryptonite. The enduring image from The Richard Pryor Show is Pryor in a body stocking, emasculated – a moment that was itself castrated from the series by the censors. The struggle to conform Pryor’s uncompromising genius to shticky ’70s TV standards drains the enterprise of a lot of its humor, but it’s still fascinating to watch. The Richard Pryor Special? (with an artfully woven sketch featuring Maya Angelou) is revelatory, but the subsequent episodes are hit-or-miss. Lame backlot scenarios compete with imaginative attempts to make use of Pryor’s incisive social commentary, and the resultant tension is barely contained (especially when the cast members – including Paul Mooney, Tim Reid, and Robin Williams – roast their headliner). EXTRAS What was missing: Pryor unleashes an exploratory Mudbone stand-up, roasts his roasters with dark relish, and responds punishingly to audience questions.
Posted April 9 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT
- Stephen King releases 'Drunken Fireworks' audiobook
- Casting Net: Julia Roberts signs on for 'Mother’s Day'
- 'Parks and Rec' alum Retta will host the 'Orphan Black' panel at Comic-Con
- Original Mickey Mouse Club to reunite at Disney's D23
- Apple's appeal denied in ebook antitrust case
- 'Creed': Watch the first trailer for the 'Rocky' spinoff
- Apple's Beats 1 radio will be censoring music
- 27 TV faves you forgot were in 'Seinfeld' episodes
- 'X-Files' returns: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in new EW portraits
- Comic-Con 2005: How buzziest projects panned out
- 'Survivor' cast thanks YOU for Second Chances in new pics
- 'Ant-Man': 7 EW exclusive new character posters
- Ricky Martin, Tina & Jane, Paul Rudd and More!