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Comedy – Richard Pryor – Staying In Shape & Drowning & Kids & Mexicans & Stuttering Chineese


In 1983, Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for $40,000,000….and he started his own production company, Indigo Productions.  This resulted in the mainstreaming of Pryor’s onscreen persona and softer, more formulaic films like Superman III (1983)….which earned Pryor $4,000,000…. and Brewster’s Millions (1985), Moving (1988) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). The only film project from this period that recalled his rough roots was Pryor’s semi-autobiographic debut as a writer-director, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986)….which was not a major success.  Despite a reputation for constantly using profanity on and off camera….Pryor briefly hosted a children’s show on CBS called Pryor’s Place (1984)….which like Sesame Street….featured a cast of puppets hanging out and having fun in a surprisingly friendly inner-city environment along with several children and characters portrayed by Pryor himself….however, Pryor’s Place frequently dealt with more sobering issues than Sesame Street. It was canceled shortly after its debut, despite the efforts of famed puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft….and a theme song by Ray Parker, Jr. of “Ghostbusters” (1984) fame.

Pryor co-hosted the Academy Awards twice….and was nominated for an Emmy for a guest role on the television series, Chicago Hope.  Network censors had warned Pryor about his profanity for the Academy Awards….and after a slip early in the program….a 5-second delay was instituted when returning from a commercial break. Pryor is also one of only three Saturday Night Live hosts to be subjected to a rare 5-second delay for his 1975 appearance (along with comedians Sam Kinison in 1986 and Andrew Dice Clay in 1990).  He appeared in Harlem Nights (1989), a comedy-drama crime film starring three generations of black comedians (Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Redd Foxx).


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