Richard Pryor
Live On The Sunset Strip
Stand-Up Comedy Double Feature
Universal 1982
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
82 minutes

Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip is the better of the two shows on the Richard Pryor Stand-up Comedy Double Feature 2 DVD set. This is the show where Pryor talks about his experience burning up, his times working a at mafia owned nightclub -the source material for his autobiographical movie JoJo Dancer-and his trip to Africa where he realized there was no such thing as niggers.. It also features the last appearance of his Mudbone character.

The funniest and darkest bit on Live On The Sunset Strip is the closer, Burning Up, where Pryor bares all about his experience being addicted to the pipe and setting himself on fire. He makes fun of his own stupidity being a crack addict and somehow manages to tell the story about being a burn victim, the darkest time of his life, and make people laugh. This takes a degree of honesty and generosity of spirit few comics had, have, or will ever have. He closes by repeating one of the jokes people told about him burning up

The first few minutes of the Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip DVD are a bit slow but the comedy and pace pick up soon enough when he starts talking about his experiences with women and feelings. Pretty good too is the bit about the Arizona State pen where he spent six weeks making Stir Crazy with Gene Wilder.

The best moment on this comedy DVD, aside from the burning up routine and the autobiographical material about growing up in a brothel and working in a mafia owned night club (yeah, yeah, there is no such thing as the mafia), is the Africa bit. His take on wild animals is funny, his physical comedy is brilliant and one wishes he did more of that, but it is his powers of observation and description that put you there with him better than any National Geographic special ever could.

Few comics have ever had the honesty of a Richard Pryor. Live On The Sunset Strip is a must for any fan of stand-up. Purists will complain that it is the full screen version but considering this is a comedy show, what difference does it make.

Also by Richard Pryor:  Craps (After Hours)

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