Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)

Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)

“You know somethin’ I found out? When you on fire and runnin’ down the street, people will get out of your way.”

Richard Pryor performs in front of a live audience in Hollywood, sharing how he nearly burned to death in 1980.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Richard Pryor Films
  • Stand-Up Comedy

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that while Richard “Pryor’s return to the concert scene after nearly being burned to death while freebasing cocaine” includes much “sidesplitting” humor, it is “overall… not as sharp-edged, wild, ’embarrassing,’ or sustained as in 1979’s Richard Pryor Live in Concert.” He adds that Pryor “doesn’t rely on mobility or his mime talents as much,” and “most irritating is that director Joe Layton keeps cutting to audience members cracking up.” (This didn’t bother me at all.)

Peary writes that “a highlight has Pryor showing his painful reaction to being bathed for the first time following his accident,” and that other stand-out moments include Pryor’s “recollections of a night with a Playboy bunny who gets turned on when he uses a little-boy voice, and his meetings with black murderers at an Arizona penitentiary.”

It’s been enough years since I watched any of Pryor’s routines that I found it enjoyable to spend time with him again — and it was especially poignant hearing him address his near-fatal addiction with humor and humility. However, if film fanatics choose just one filmed Pryor show to watch, it should probably be his earlier “Live in Concert”, thus making this recommended rather than must-see.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Haskell Wexler’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though it’s must-see for Pryor fans, and well worth a look.


One thought on “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)

  1. First viewing (10/11/20). Not must-see.

    Pryor’s follow-up to his 1979 concert film disappoints. He begins by explaining how unenthused he was about returning to stand-up after his public scandal re: drugs. But he reminds us that he somewhat indifferently chose to return to the stage because, in his mind, greed is not such a bad thing (a revelation which is not exactly hilarious).

    He gains a bit of momentum once he has revved up but he’s not all that inspired. His subjects – women, the Mafia – only make for sporadic, mild amusement.

    His last 20 minutes are the worst. At that point, he (understandably) shifts focus to his all-too-public drugs scandal. The problem is: No matter how it is presented comically, there is absolutely nothing funny about drug addiction.

    Still… the crowd here is eating him up and loving it.

Leave a Reply