Pick of the week
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic Tuesday, 8.30pm, Showcase (215) Richard Pryor has been declared by many, including Jerry Seinfeld, to be the greatest stand-up comedian ever. If he was a little before your time, or indeed you missed his work — as it was possible to do before this instantly connected digital world we live in — this fascinating documentary will serve as an education, and a pleasurable one. The title is taken from a quote by comedy writer David Banks, who died earlier this year: “Sometimes, to understand Richard you had to first omit logic,” he said, with no understatement. Pryor was born in 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, and developed a dynamic brand of racially charged and expletive-laden humour. He was also well known for fast living and drug taking. During his peak in the late 1970s, he won an Emmy Award and five Grammys before an infamous event in 1980 when, in a cocaine-induced psychosis, he poured rum over his head and set himself on fire. He later described it as a suicide attempt. His style of humour reminds you of no one more than Dave Chappelle — indeed Pryor’s widow once pronounced Chappelle his comedy heir, and Pryor’s hilarious writer Paul Mooney also worked on Chappelle’s Show, which ran on Comedy Central in 2003-06. A long awaited biopic is also in the works, with Mike Epps playing the lead role. Both funny and poignant, this is a fascinating portrait of the man.