Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic Blu-ray Review
For those of you reading this that are only familiar with the name, let me assure you that Richard Pryor was a genius. Born and raised in a brothel (his father was a pimp, his mother one the “ladies” and his grandmother the madam), he took that very unusual upbringing and made it a part of his comedy. Like Lenny Bruce, he wasn’t afraid to work “blue.” He didn’t use dirty words as a punch line, he used them as an anthem. He was a true original.
RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC begins with the news reports from 1980 when Pryor somehow caught on fire and was badly burned. Rumors blame everything from freebasing cocaine to a suicide attempt (which Pryor pretty much confirmed in his semi-biographical film JO JO DANCER, YOUR LIFE IS CALLING). From this tragedy we work our way back to a young, animated Pryor doing comedy on television and headlining in Las Vegas. In 1965 he realized that he was being perceived as the “next” Bill Cosby…white America embraced his humor but it wasn’t really HIS. Soon he begins adding a few words not polite for this site and finds himself fired. Whispers of his career being over are drowned out as he begins touring and finding an audience in the urban core. He soon finds himself recording award winning albums, starring in his own (very) short-lived television show and taking Hollywood by storm. From early films like LADY SINGS THE BLUES to his slow deterioration from the ravages of MS, there is not a part of Pryor’s life that is not examined.
The film not only features excerpts from Pryor’s various projects but includes heartfelt interviews with many of the people that knew him best. Fellow comedians like Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks and Paul Mooney praise the talent inside the man while close friends and former wives (Pryor was married a total of seven times, marrying two of the women twice) talk about the demons he also kept close by. Film clips from Pryor’s career – highlights include “Which Way is Up?” and “Greased Lightning” – showcase another talent that was all too often taken for granted when he would do money-grabs like “The Toy” and “Brewster’s Millions.” RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC does not judge its subject, nor slant the story. It is a fine look at a rare talent, one that only comes around very rarely. Pryor has been dead for almost a decade and there have been many comedians that have come along since then that have been compared to him. Dave Chappelle. Damon Wayons. Martin Lawrence. They’ve all been labeled “the next big thing” and, though they have had some success, their talents are nowhere near Pryor’s. Now we have Kevin Hart. Funny guy (sometimes) but it will be a long time before history judges him. In my lifetime, only Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams come to mind as being worthy of being included in the Pryor universe. A fine solar system to be in, indeed.
Video: Presented in its original 1:78.1 aspect ratio, the image is clear and sharp. Even archival material, including early 1960’s television appearances, are well presented.
Audio: Available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, the sound is presented clearly and not over-loud. Interview subjects talk at a reasonable level and corresponding film clips, etc do not distract from the speakers.
Not a lot here, which is disappointing considering Richard Pryor had a prolific 30 year career.
Additional Interviews (34:40): Longer interviews with various people who knew and/or admired Pryor, including Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Lee Pryor, Willie Nelson, Quincy Jones, David Banks and David Steinberg.