When TV Execs Took Major Chances and Blew It, Remembering 'The Richard Pryor Show' on NBC

He was without the funniest comedian on stage.  No doubt.  For black comedians in the past century there was no one better than Richard Pryor.  His Live On the Sunset Strip showed his amazing talent.  He was the God of comedy in movies as well.

Even when interviewed he was funny.  One chat with Richard Pryor late in his life was he and one of his wives.  She’s sitting there with him, the moderator asks about Richard Pryor arguing with his wife.  And his threatening to shoot her.  May not sound funny in these times but when ask Pryor responded “I had two bullets in the gun, one for her and one for me…OK two for her.”


He was an amazing talent no doubt.  And NBC took a major chance with giving The Richard Pryor Show a run on the network for a total of four episodes.  Yes just four episodes.  Count them, one, two, three, and finally four.  He has a contract for 10 total episodes but if you ever watched Richard Pryor perform he was not about to let the suits and ties tell him how to do his show.  And he balked at their interference to the point when Richard Pryor told the the blank off.


But those episodes that aired were absolutely hilarious.  The ratings were so-so but the content, for an African American audience and those crossover white viewers who liked great comedic skits would love the talented skills of Richard Pryor.  Even if NBC screwed it up.

Check out the videos.  This is great comedic content.  The First Black President skit is amazing.

Rick Thomas


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