The Richard Pryor Show Box Set (2004) 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,…
Movie on DVD Review

The Richard Pryor Show Box Set (2004)

Details Release Date: Mar 23, 2004; DVD Release Date: Mar 23, 2004

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.

Originally posted Apr 09, 2004 Published in issue #759 Apr 09, 2004 Order article reprints