6.4/10
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11 user 7 critic

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.

Director:

Richard Pryor
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Pryor ... Jo Jo Dancer / Alter Ego
Debbie Allen ... Michelle
Art Evans ... Arturo
Fay Hauser ... Grace
Barbara Williams ... Dawn
Carmen McRae ... Grandmother
Paula Kelly ... Satin Doll
Diahnne Abbott ... Mother
Scoey Mitchell ... Father
Billy Eckstine Billy Eckstine ... Johnny Barnett
Tanya Boyd ... Alicia
Wings Hauser ... Cliff
E'Lon Cox E'Lon Cox ... Little Jo Jo
Michael Ironside ... 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Role Of His Life. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jo Jo Dancer See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,879,107, 4 May 1986

Gross USA:

$18,034,150

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,034,150
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Goofs

A 1980's Lincoln Town Car appears twice during the "Young Jojo" sequence: Over Young Jojo's shoulder during closeups when he looks back at "Older Jojo" sitting at the corner store, and then again briefly parked in front of the family house a few minutes later when he returns home and is chastised by his grandmother for playing on the lawn. 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.
See more »


Soundtracks

Play-On
Produced by Cinemascore
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User Reviews

 
Pryor's directorial debut, delivers on all cylinders

Not only is this movie funny, but it's also clever as in it's idea, of having a clone of the Richard Pryor character as his savior. As we know, all comedians have suffered severe depression or encountered some horrible times in their lives. Coked up, an alcoholic too, Jo Jo (Pryor) severely burns himself. Coming out of it, enter the other Pryor, the voice inside his head, the apparition, telling him to get his life back on track. Obviously, bits of the movie are inspired from Pryor's background. The movie starts with Jo Jo as a kid, living with his mother, who (hows this?) manages a whorehouse, so he gets to the savor the tasty sights through peepholes, or through having his ears pressed up against the doors, hearing those joyous sounds of sex. As he grows up into his late teens, he tells his mother he's gonna become a comedian. Obviously her initial response has her laughing aloud. So he leaves and toughs it on his own, while later becoming involved with two women, the latter, Debbie Allen, wanting to see him dead. This is a strong drama, too a comedy, that's balanced well, but more a drama. Richard's stand up stuff here is top notch, just as good as his real stand up, where both are potent, with their much undeniable truth surfaced underneath. You can't help thinking, some of the real Richard has been incorporated into his character, Pryor, just as good a dramatic actor, as a comedic one. The explanatory joke involving birth, really cracked me up. Watch out for Wings Hauser who Pryor knocks out, when finding him and his first girlfriend in an uncompromising position, doing blow whatever. An anti drug alcohol movie in part, this shows the pitfalls and struggles of the virgin comedian, the highs and lows they encounter, the humiliation and bitter disappointments, he must first endure. and . The movie also features Marvin Gaye's "What's going On" over a montage. Allen (Fame) as Pryor's second wife is particularly good. A movie treat for Pryor fans or peepers, for that matter.


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