Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Richard Pryor Show

The Richard Pryor Show
I’ve been watching a marathon of The Richard Pryor Show on TV One.  (if you call 3-4 episodes a marathon)  I’ve never watched the show before; so all the skits are pretty fresh to me.  Some of them aren’t that funny.  However, given the context of the time period, the some of the skits are funny and somewhat daring.  I can’t believe they got away with some of the things that conveyed on the show. 
NBC and Richard Pryor never got off on the right foot and clashed throughout the short run of the show.  I’ve read some reports that Pryor walked off the show, and others saying he hated doing the show. 
When watching the show, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some similarities to The Dave Chappelle Show.  I believe Pryor’s social and racial skits influenced Chappelle during the old show.   I believe that was the reason Chappelle brought in Paul Mooney into his show.  You can see Mooney in some of the skits on Pryor’s show. 
Many comedians got their first leading roles on Pryor’s show.  Such as, John Witherspoon, Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Tim Reid, and Marsha Warfield. 
Here are a few skits worth watching…
The Star Wars Bar
Comment:  Most of the aliens in this scene are background characters from the cantina scene in A New Hope.  I love the bit with the Devil.  I remember thinking that they just used a devil suit from another production in A New Hope too.  I do believe some of the costumes and masks are actually from the first version of the cantina scene before Lucas reshot it.  Look out for a Planet of the Apes suit too.
Black President
Comment:  It is kind of uncanny how much he sounds like President Obama in this skit, when this skit predates Obama.  What makes this skit funny is that President Pryor gets progressively more gangster as the questions go on.  The best part is when redneck wants to ask him a question. 
Black Death Metal
Comment:  This is a very dark skit when you consider that this was on primetime TV on 8PM in 1977.  The bandleader actually kills the entire crowd in the skit. 
Gun Shop Skit
Comment:  This one is brilliant.  All the guns he touches speaks to him, and tells him the their history.  This show was ahead of its time. 

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