If you haven't seen Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, what many consider one of the greatest stand-up comedy acts ever filmed, you'll have a chance this Friday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Eureka Theater ($10).
Why is it considered one of the greatest? It encompasses all the ingredients of good stand-up. It pushes boundaries. It's crass. It's self-deprecating. It takes the horrific and turns it silly. But it goes a step further. In Live, Pryor turns the lens on himself and his analysis becomes a confessional shared with the audience, offering an intimacy that perhaps had not been seen before. In it, the original King of Comedy moves about the stage (The Hollywood Palladium) in a red suit and black bow tie in his first performance since the cocaine freebasing accident that left him covered in burns and almost dead. And of course, he must talk about that. Pryor is edgy in both his work and in his composure, fidgety at times, restless. But he slides into his rhythm once the grit gets real and the audience stays with him. He talks candidly about difficult times and heavy subjects — addiction, racism (peppered liberally with his favorite expletive) as well as transformative ones — recounting a moving experience he had in Africa that led to an epiphany about never using the "N word" again. Pryor's performance is a brilliant, bold, blunt autobiography that makes viewers think and feel, pause and reflect, then laugh and laugh some more.
Local comedians Jessica Grant, Josh Barnes and Dutch Savage serve up laughs in live sets before the film, and libations and refreshments are available in the lobby.