6.3/10
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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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jo Jo Dancer / Alter Ego
...
Michelle
...
Arturo
...
Grace
...
Dawn
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Grandmother
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Satin Doll
...
Mother
Scoey Mitchell ...
Father
Billy Eckstine ...
Johnny Barnett
Tanya Boyd ...
Alicia
...
Cliff
E'Lon Cox ...
Little Jo Jo
...
Detective Lawrence
J.J. Barry ...
Sal
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jo Jo Dancer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$18,034,150 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paralleling Richard Pryor's own childhood, Jo Jo is raised in a family-owned brothel in a black neighborhood of an American Midwestern city. From there, he sets out to break into show business, rising from seedy cellar nightclubs to popularity as a comic rebel whose humor is laced with the language of the street. See more »

Quotes

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

Goin' to Chicago Blues
Produced by Cinemascore
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User Reviews

 
personal docudrama
3 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

Jo Jo Dancer (Richard Pryor) is a successful comedian. In a drunken haze, he severely burns himself. His spirit watches his wounded body in his hospital bed and recalls his journey to that point. As a child, Jo Jo grew up in the brothel with his mother. As a young man, he decides to go to the big city Cleveland to try his hand in stand up. His father beats him up and his young wife is too afraid to go with him. He gets a gig at a strip club. As his career rises, his marriages suffer a roller-coaster ride of drug use and other difficulties.

This is a thinly-veiled personal docudrama. I think it's probably a mistake for Pryor to direct the movie himself. It's technically competent but the material is there for something much more compelling. The story never gets much tension. It's coated in a functional lifetime docudrama. An experienced director would be able to bring something more interesting in the structure and also a deeper performance from Pryor. I love Pryor as a comic and an actor. I don't love this movie quite as much.


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