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Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986)

After severely burning himself in a drug incident, a comedian has a near death experience in which he reviews his life.



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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jo Jo Dancer / Alter Ego
Satin Doll
Scoey Mitchell ...
Billy Eckstine ...
Johnny Barnett
Tanya Boyd ...
E'Lon Cox ...
Little Jo Jo
Detective Lawrence
J.J. Barry ...


In this film that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo's spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comic with one eye on his audience and another eye on the truth. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jo Jo Dancer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$18,034,150 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Flashbacks and fragments which illuminate Jo Jo (Richard Pryor)'s life are intentionally woven out of sequence. Pryor explained: "Memory doesn't work in nice, neat, chronological patterns that make things convenient for screenwriters. Jo Jo's mind skips around. So does the story". Each such sequence is set against the social, cultural, sexual and racial ferment of its time, observed through the filter of Jo Jo's humor. See more »


Jo Jo Dancer: [to his wife as he gets on the bus] I'm gonna write you, I'm gonna write you.
See more »


Referenced in Dead Teenagers (2007) See more »


Mannish Boy
Written by Muddy Waters (as McKinley Morganfield), Bo Diddley (as Ellis McDaniel) and Melvin London (as Mel London)
Performed by Muddy Waters
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Bio, but not perfect
26 June 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I found this film to be a really good depiction of Richard Pryor's life. But, I would've used the actual story of his life instead of using a fictional character to depict his life. Only a suggestion though Richard. But besides that, it is a great bio that has charm and laughs along the way (that later reminded me of Andy Kaufman's Man on the Moon). Trivia note- Pryor wrote, produced, directed (his first real film, though he directed Richard Pryor Here and Now) and starred in this film, which would be his last film to have writer, producer and director on his credits (he now has MS). A-

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