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DVD Review


DVD cover

Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)
(2019 Reissue)

 

Starring: Richard Pryor
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £TBC
FHED3923
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 08 April 2019


Shot live at the Hollywood Palladium, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip captures all the excitement, lunacy and electric force of a Pryor performance. Although Pryor is the only star of this show, he’s never alone on stage. With him is his amazing array of characterizations as he talks about his trip to Africa in search of his “roots,” his early days playing one-night gigs in Mafia-owned clubs and strip joints, and numerous other outrageous topics. Finally, he talks about “Pryor on Fire” – a recounting of the accident which nearly took his life – an episode he relates with wit and a touch of poignancy...

If you'll pardon the pun, comedy is a funny thing. Standup comedy, in particular, doesn't age very well. Richard Pryor was a pioneer in his field. His observations were dry and honest and Live on Sunset Strip was one of the funniest live videos when it was released in 1982. Now...? Not so much. The problem is comedy of this style is constantly evolving and several generations of comics have come along since, many of whom were inspired by Pryor - or inspired by other comics who were inspired by Pryor.

Over the course of the live act he tackles several subjects, but it's his frank discussion of his drug addiction and his public downfall after freebasing cocaine in 1980 that probably hits home the hardest. But I have to honestly admit that I barely cracked a smile watching this release, let alone laughed out loud. What was funny then, is not so funny now.

When you can watch this for free online, or purchase older editions for under £2 online, I'm struggling to fathom why anyone would pay for this new release on DVD.

2

Darren Rea

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