Tommy Wilhelm (Robin Williams) is a salesman. An honest, hard-working guy who has lost his job, his girlfriend, and left part of his sanity behind as he heads to New York to pick up the ... See full summary »
Richard B. Shull,
One of the many variety shows available in the 1970s (along with Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, Donny and Marie, etc). Hosted by black comic Flip Wilson, this show featured skits, ... See full summary »
Random was an angel out to earn his wings by doing good deeds. He went to work as a high-school teacher, and moved in with Marion and her five nephews and nieces, who were frequently ... See full summary »
Ten episodes were originally ordered but Pryor walked off the show due to disagreements with NBC over the show's time slot and content. Pryor returned but agreed to produce only four episodes. NBC and Pryor announced that they would produce two specials a year for the next three years to fulfill the ten-episode agreement. But Pryor never worked for NBC again. See more »
About 30 years ago, the powers that be at NBC decided to create a show centered around a comedian who was on the brink of becoming the hottest stand-up comedian (and later, movie comedian) in the country. Richard Pryor was hot in 1977, as anyone who has seen his classic hosting episode on Saturday Night Live can attest. NBC was the network of Saturday Night Live, so bringing Pryor home on television sets throughout the country seemed like a natural recipe for outrageous success. It didn't happen that way. The show lasted for four episodes. Watching the episodes on the DVD in 2006, I can see why it didn't last long. Most of the skits are simply not funny. The humor seems forced, and the sketches go on forever. Luckily, Pryor appears in most of them, but in some cases poor decisions were made and allowed the other less-talented cast members hog the spotlight (just watch the "I Gotta Be Me" segment in the first episode for proof). Of the other cast members, only Robin Williams and Sandra Bernhard realized any fame (in the case of Williams, incredible fame of course). The show was created for Pryor, but it seems that it wasn't created BY Pryor. And that stands to reason. You could not have watered down Pryor for network TV. One of the DVDs has an audience Q&A extra that was never aired. It's easy to see why it didn't air. Pryor unleashes the vulgarity that would be his trademarknever mind the 6 and 8 year old kids in the audience! The best skits are the provocative ones, which were more message-themed than funny. One of them involves Pryor as a heavy metal guitarist, dressed like George Clinton, who wows his audience with Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend guitar-work, and is backed by his Kiss-meets-Black-Sabbath band; it is a genius skit that makes a statement on the '70s rock music scene. Pryor ends up killing his audience a'la Sid Vicious, and the segment ends. No laugh track. No mugging by Pryor. The skit is actually creepy. As is another skit that has Pryor in a gun shop, "listening" to the guns "haunted" by their previous owners. It is an effective gun control statement, but not particularly funny. The DVD set is worth watching mainly because of the picture it paints of America in the late '70s. The clothes, the racial content, the humor, the important political issues. Some of the skits are truly hilariousbut the majority of them are dated, overlong, and not especially funny. This would have been better as a one-disk DVD, composed of the best skits as rated by longtime Pryor fans and network executives. Looking back at Pryor's career since his death, this show is an interesting entry is his catalog, and it is sad that most of the movies made in the years before his diagnosis were feebleCritical Condition, Moving, See No Evil Hear No Evil and the rest. For the best overview of what Richard Pryor was about, get the concert films ("Live in Concert," "Live on Sunset Strip," "Here and Now," as well as the hard-to-find but occasionally brilliant "Live and Smoking"), along with the feature films Silver Streak (for his comic breakout and best pairing with Gene Wilder), Blue Collar (for a great dramatic performance), and Jo Jo Dancer-Your Life is Calling (directed by Pryor and "partially" based on his life).
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