Recorded live at the height of his powers in 1978, this concert shows fast-talking comedian Richard Pryor at his crudest, foulest best. From vibrators to randy monkeys, police dogs to jacking up, Pryor runs the gamut of outrageous and taboo topics, including events in his own life like his heart attack... and the time he got drunk and blasted his wife's car to pieces with a .44 Magnum.
Though Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
was recorded (and released) in 1979, it took 25 years for the DVD to finally get a UK release. And, while it's tempting to look for a conspiracy involving Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy, who could have used their influence to delay this release for fear of the world realising where they got their schtick, the reality is this DVD was worth the wait. Not only has the entire concert been restored and remastered, they've also included a whole heap of extras. There's some footage of some of Pryor's early stand-up (hard to believe that the potty-mouthed comic started out as tame as Bill Cosby), footage from Pryor's doomed-from-the-start television show (an ill-thought-out prospect, really, considering the conservative nature of American TV) and a biographical booklet. So, it's definitely a value-for-money DVD (especially when you consider the relatively short running-time of the main feature).
Of course, the star of this show is the original feature: Richard Pryor's full stand-up routine, recorded live in the 1970s. With his star firmly in the ascendant, Pryor was on fire, and his performance soon became a comedic legend. His style is casual and conversational--fundamentally, he's an excellent storyteller, and he has a knack for finding comedy inside of tragedy. At the time, his raunchy subject matter and use (some said "overuse") of, ahem, naughty words came as quite a shock to audiences, but Pryor went on to influence dozens of comedians to follow (in the process, becoming the highest ever paid comedian by the end of the 1970s). Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is a legendary performance by a legendary comedian, and an essential touchstone for modern comedy. --Robert Burrow