Part live stand-up performance, part documentary, this film is one of comedian Richard Pryor's later stand-up performances. As foul-mouthed as ever, Pryor touches on most of the same topics as in his previous live shows.
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The movie's opening prologue states: "This concert was recorded live at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach, California". See more »
[talking about Leon Spinks being busted]
But bad luck being fucking with him, Jack. Here is a nigger that gets busted for a dollar and fifty cents worth of cocaine. Do you hear me, a dollar and fifty cents worth of cocaine. Have you ever sen a dollar and fifty cents worth of cocaine? A dollar and fifty cents worth of cocaine melts before you open the paper. You've got to have a ballistics expert on the spot to examine that kind of shit. And people always say 'well how did he get busted for a ...
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This concert was recorded live at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach, California See more »
Reedited and reissued in August 1979 as "Richard Pryor Is Back Live In Concert," which was sold as an entirely new film. Much of the footage was from the original version, and virtually all of the material was the same, but some of the new footage was from a different performance of the same show. Producers noted that the difference could be determined by noting that in some shots, Pryor wears a wristwatch and in other shots he doesn't, prompting New York Times critic Vincent Canby to remark "If you cannot rest until you see Mr. Pryor wear a wristwatch, don't miss this recycled work. However, it's far cheaper to stay home and remember the first movie fondly." See more »
This was the first time a stand-up comedian was filmed doing his act, and most people predicted that it would fail. Bill Sargent had the idea of filming Pryor's act, but since most of the industry thought it would flop, they had trouble getting anyone to distribute it, so a few mavericks in the industry distributed it themselves. It was cheap to make, all the profits would be gravy, and the men who made it believed that people would respond to Richard Pryor's act. Video was just coming out and would soon be a force, and Pryor was at the top of his game, and the gamble paid off. Now we take for granted watching stand-up comedy on TV and everywhere else, but at the time bringing a comedy routine to the big screen, especially one as raunchy as Pryor's, was considered a huge risk.
But Pryor is on fire in front of his audience. He's honest and raw, and doesn't pull any punches. And because of that you'll laugh so hard your gut will bust. But when you watch this film it is of interest to realize that at the time it was filmed there was no "Def Comedy Jam." There was no Bill Cosby "Himself." That all came after this. Richard Pryor and a few daring producers brought this genre to life with this one act, and had it not been so incredibly good, it might not have become the money making and entertaining part of the industry that it is today.
When you watch this you can know you're watching the first and the best.
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