Watch Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
- 1 hr 18 min
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is a classic comedy concert film featuring the iconic Richard Pryor delivering one of the most memorable and influential stand-up performances of all time. Shot in 1979 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California, the film captures Pryor at the height of his comedic powers, holding nothing back as he delivers his irreverent, boundary-pushing material to a rapturous audience.
The film begins with a performance by legendary singer Patti LaBelle, who gets the crowd warmed up with an energetic rendition of "Lady Marmalade." After a brief introduction by comedian Paul Mooney, Pryor takes the stage to thunderous applause and begins his set with a joke about his recent heart attack, signaling the beginning of a night of raw, unfiltered comedy that covers topics ranging from race, sex, drugs, and politics.
As Pryor builds momentum, he delves deeper into his personal life, reflecting on his upbringing in the brothels of Peoria, Illinois, and his battles with drug addiction and alcoholism. The audience roars with laughter as Pryor pokes fun at every aspect of his life, from his failed marriages to his run-ins with the police.
Despite the heavy subject matter, Pryor's humor remains infectiously upbeat, and he constantly keeps the audience engaged and entertained. His jokes come fast and furious, with each punchline hitting harder than the last. Pryor doesn't shy away from addressing social issues either, tackling topics like racism and police brutality with poignant satirical insight.
In between his jokes, Pryor also takes time to acknowledge some of the struggles facing the black community, including poverty and lack of access to opportunity. His performances of his classic bits "Wino Preacher" and "Black Funerals" are both hilarious and poignant, offering a searing commentary on the realities of life in America for black people.
The film features some of Pryor's most famous bits, including his bit about visiting Africa and his infamous "N-word" routine, which still stirs controversy to this day. Pryor's talent for improvisation is also on full display, as he weaves in hilarious stories about the people he's met, the places he's been, and the bizarre situations he's found himself in.
Throughout the movie, the audience is treated to occasional cutaways of Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton, who watches Pryor's set from the audience, providing a counterpoint to the comedian's humor with his serious, thoughtful demeanor. Newton's presence serves as a reminder of the political and social context in which Pryor's comedy was born, and adds a layer of complexity to the film's examination of race and power in America.
Overall, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is an essential viewing experience for anyone interested in comedy, social commentary, or the art of performance. Pryor's legacy as one of the greatest comedians of all time is on full display here, and his influence on generations of comedians is palpable. The film still holds up today as a testament to the power of comedy to heal and unite, even in the face of life's darkest moments.
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is a 1979 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 18 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.0.