Richard Pryor

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy Joins Mike Epps For Lee Daniel’s Upcoming Richard Pryor Biopic!

Eddie Murphy, Kate Hudson Confirmed for Lee Daniel's Upcoming Richard Pryor Biopic

ETonline  reports exclusively that Eddie Murphy has signed on for a role in Lee Daniels’ currently untitled Richard Pryor biopic. The site also confirms that Kate Hudson will portray Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Pryor, who is a producer on the film.

Yesterday, Daniels shared a photo of himself and Murphy (at left) together on Instagram , along with the caption: “Strap in and brace yourself. They done let me and him out of our cages! #idonteventhinkimreadyforthisone! #excited #proud #OMG”

Murphy and Hudson will join previously announced cast member Mike Epps, who will take on the role of the legendary comedian.Oprah Winfrey will also star as Pryor’s grandmother, Marie Carter.

The Weinstein Company project was first announced in January of last year. Winfrey will serve as one of the film’s producers, while Daniels is also reportedly set to helm.

Source: Broadway World

David Banks

Richard Pryor’s Former Manager David Banks’ Memorial Service Info Released!

We have been informed that there will be a Memorial Service for our dear departed Friend David Banks (former Manager of Richard Pryor) on March 21, 2015 at 11:00 am at the Congregational Church of the Chimes.

The Location Is Listed as 14115 Magnolia Blvd, in Sherman Oaks, Ca 91423.

Those that are unable to attend can send a card, flowers or anything else your hear desires to his children and other relatives.

He will be truly missed!


Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend To Direct New Remake Of Richard Pryor’s ‘Brewster’s Millions’!

Robert TownsendWe discovered the news this morning that filmmaker/comedian and producer Robert Townsend is attached to direct the Richard Pryor film Brewster’s Millions. If you remember that film (which also starred John Candy) its about Monty Brewster, a minor league baseball player who is set to inherit $1 billion, with one key caveat: He must spend $100 million in one week or end up right back where he started – with nothing more than the clothes on his back.

We hear that the new script is set to go out to several A-list actors after minor changes since no one is cast just yet. But so far, Townsend is in the Captain’s chair and with his notes should be able to pull the talent he wants.

Stay tuned as this story is till developing!


Marlon Wayans

Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans’ Richard Pryor Audition Revealed!

Marlon WayansThe role now belongs to Mike Epps, in a project that will be directed by Lee Daniels, with Oprah Winfrey also attached to play Richard Pryor’s grandmother. But, at one time, Marlon Wayans was to play Pryor in a film that Chris Rock was on-board to produce; this was in 2010, when Rock shared his enthusiasm for the project, and just how blown away he was by Marlons’ audition tape.

Might this be footage from the tape that Rock and company watched, that blew them away?

Thanks to reader “Dave,” here’s footage from Wayans’ Richard Pryor audition tape, made with the contributions of Omar Epps.

But the role now belongs to Mike Epps, so, no matter what you think of Wayans’ attempt in the tape below, it ultimately doesn’t matter.

Director Lee Daniels really has not spoken publicly much about the project; although he did say that, much like Chris Rock said he was blown away by Marlon Wayans’ audition, Daniels, and his producers, The Weinstein Company, were just as taken by Epps’ performance.

Others who were said to be in contention for the job, when it became Daniels’, include Nick Cannon and Michael B. Jordan.

Also, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway were said to both be in the running to play Jennifer Lee Pryor in the film; although it looks like it’s Hudson’s role.

I should note that Mike Epps actually plays Richard Pryor in Cynthia Mort’s Nina Simone film that Zoe Saldana stars in, which still hasn’t been released.

Here’s the footage; the first half, I’m told, was written and directed by Bill Condon (director of films like “Dreamgirls” and “The Fifth Estate”); the second half is a Pryor monologue.

Source: Shadow And Act


Is Mo’Nique Being Blacklisted By Hollywood? According To Lee Daniels- Yes!

Here is an interesting article was saw yesterday that we wanted to post because the question of being blacklisted by Hollywood has come up with us in many conversations, and its never really been posed to comedians. Well, we think that has officially changed.

Check out the article below about Mo’Nique being blacklisted by Hollywood:

Mo'Nique, Oscars

Mo’nique claims that she now knows why the offers didn’t start flooding in after her big Oscar win in 2010.

The former star of The Parkers, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the title character’s abusive, domineering mother in Precious, writes in an essay in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter that director-producer Lee Daniels clued her in just a few months ago.

Noting that an Oscar win “normally does” lead to “more respect, choices, money” in the business, Mo’Nique writes, “But I got a phone call from Lee Daniels…And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.'”

Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'nique, Precious

After steamrolling the competition throughout the 2009-10 awards season, Mo’Nique famously didn’t campaign for her Oscar, going on to say in her acceptance speech that she was grateful to the Academy “for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.”

“I said, ‘Well, what game is that?'” her THR piece continues. “He gave me no response.”

People who would say that she’s “difficult,” “tactless” or “tacky” would “probably be right,” the actress writes. “That’s why I have my beautiful husband because he’s so full of tact. I’m just a girl from Baltimore. But being from that place, you learn not to let anybody take advantage of you.”

Since co-starring in Precious with Gabourey SidibeLenny Kravitzand an unrecognizable Mariah Carey, the 47-year-old actress only has a few credits to her name, none of them major theatrical releases.

Mo’Nique also writes that she was offered the role of Forest Whitaker‘s wife in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a part that ultimately went to Oprah Winfrey; a role in the Daniels-produced Fox hit Empire; and the role of Richard Pryor‘s grandmother [also now set to be played by Oprah] in the upcoming biopic Daniels is working on—but, she adds, “they all just went away.”

Lee Daniels, Mo'Nique

Paul Morigi/WireImage

In response to Mo’Nique, Daniels said in a statement to THR:

“Mo’Nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on, however the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.”

Source: E! News

Mike Epps

Mike Epps Filming His New Special For Netflix!

As comedian Mike Epps is preparing for his new coveted role in the new Richard Pryor biopic from Lee Daniels, he is not slowing down on doing any of his stand up!

According to our sources, we hear that is hitting the stage this weekend as he is filming his new special, part of his Real Deal Tour, for Netflix! As we hear it, its his first special directly made for Netflix, so this could lead to many urban comedians doing the same thing.

Check out the flier below for all of the details, especially if you are in the Los Angeles area:

Mike flier

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor Haunts Chris Rock’s New Film ‘Top Five’!


Recently I finished reading Furious Cool, a breezy yet reflective take on the life of Richard Pryor. Rather than present Pryor as merely a pioneering stand-up comic, authors David and Joe Henry position Pryor as a transcendent black entertainer, an essential link from the segregated time of the chitlin’ circuit to today’s world.

Pryor, the book asserts, was born from a rich tradition, a hidden culture that informed many civil-rights leaders in overt and subtle ways. Later, as he entered the mainstream, his struggles with his identity as a black public figure — and what it means to “sell out” — drove his self-destruction and hinted at larger problems for African Americans assimilating into an unfair, flawed society.

I thought of Pryor (the tormented artist coping with his celebrity by freebasing cocaine) while watching Top Five, the latest directorial effort from Chris Rock. As a comic and social commentator, Rock is perhaps the rightful heir to Pryor; indeed, his troubled filmography parallels Pryor’s own spotty, sometimes embarrassing cinematic contributions. Rock has seemingly avoided Pryor’s dark personal legacy, whose best work was behind him by the time he entered his early 40s. With Top Five he finally eclipses Pryor, at least as a filmmaker.

Rock is 49. In a recent interview he spoke fondly of aspiring to a James Taylor-type career, meaning working mainly during the summer and reserving the majority of the year for family and life outside the public view. (Referencing Taylor may be ironic for a comedian known for his Pryor-like stand-up bit “Niggaz vs. Black People.”) This sense of perspective, and a playful rejection of convention, lurks just under the surface in Top Five, which debates issues of race, success and love in a way Pryor might have had he not been derailed by addiction and illness.

Pryor’s legacy — his brilliance, his contradictions and ultimate tragedy — lingers in the shadows of Top Five. He is referenced outright by Rock’s character Andre Allen during a conversation about comedy’s greats. Allen admires his honesty. (In the same breath he applauds recent media lightning rod Bill Cosby for his mastery of storytelling. The film was made during the summer of 2013, long before Cosby’s name became controversial.) But the allusions to Pryor go deeper. Like the real-life comedian, Allen is frozen by self-doubt. He believes his comedic gifts to be tied to drug and alcohol dependence and has turned to making mediocre blockbusters.

Pryor made the abysmal The Toy and Superman III during his middle age. For Allen it’s the popular Hammy series, featuring a degrading character not unlike Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma, or Rock himself parading around in films like Madagascar. While Top Five is messy in its storytelling at times, the world of the film is contemporary and has a lived-in quality that gives the Allen’s plight and his search for purpose true resonance. It’s as if Rock were acting out the trajectory of a comedian like Pryor in Hollywood and made small changes, correcting the lonelier aspects of his path.

In one scene Allen jokes that the only legitimate reasons to break up with someone are either infidelity or abuse. It’s a startling aside — one not warmly received by the character played by a charming Rosario Dawson — but it’s the kind of belief that would not have been out of place in one of Pryor’s routines about relationships. (He openly admitted to mistreating women throughout his life.) In another scene he jokes about not being able to hail a cab in Manhattan; a taxi then stops at that precise moment, Rock updating a common brand of racial humor. Cabs may stop in 2014 — a signal of progress — but issues continue.

Later, when Allen finds catharsis on stage, his natural ability and effortless delivery evokes Pryor’s own knack for recovering from personal trauma the only way he knew how: by performing in front of an audience. But Allen (and Rock?) is able to find professional satisfaction, and personal happiness, in ways that always eluded Pryor.

Of course, Allen is as much a reflection of Chris Rock and his own ruminations on fame as he is a mirror of Pryor. The films succeeds as a kind of superior, more lighthearted version of Pryor’s autobiographical Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. At the same time Rock’s influences are obvious: The film is meant as a more urban, raucous version of Linklater’s Before series, or typical Woody Allen, or maybe a more accessible version of Rock collaborator Louis CK’s FX series Louie. The result is a bit mixed, tonally, but nevertheless represents a remarkable step forward for Rock as a filmmaker. In an age where most adult fare feels like strategically packaged Oscar bait, Top Five exists in an honest and often hilarious place. We need more films like it.

One final note: Richard Pryor’s career featured several attempts to promote more black voices in film and encourage the work of African0American filmmakers. Top Five is a true embodiment of that dream, having been conceived by some of America’s most prominent black entertainers. Besides Rock’s multiple roles, the music of Top Five was done by Questlove, of the legendary band The Roots. And the cast is perhaps one of film’s greatest assemblage of black comics ever. The film was co-produced by rappers Kanye West and Jay Z, who is often chided for his passive role in bettering the lives of black Americans. (Speaking of West and Jigga, the film is kind of cousin to the themes they explored on Watch the Throne, whose “Niggas in Paris” is the film’s unofficial anthem. I love how Rock engages with hip-hop throughout Top Five, perhaps a spiritual hat tip to CB4.)

Rather than drape itself in Important Messaging, Top Five works best when it casually depicts its characters as they are: existing, conversing. It’s daring at times and has a sense of what’s possible in a way not unlike Pryor’s groundbreaking sketch work on NBC. It may be sexier to talk about Selma today or bang the drum for more female auteurs; that’s fine. Still, Top Five has a definitive voice and truly gets its place in the world. Its first scene features a conversation about what it means to live in a supposedly post-racial, post-Obama America. By the end it’s evoking Preston Sturges’Sullivan’s Travels, but not before completing its amusing glimpse at the lives of Americans living in that world.

Pryor would be proud.

Source: By Andy Hoglund, The Huffington Post

Richard Pryor

Remembering Richard Pryor On The Anniversary Of His Death!

Richard PryorIn case you weren’t aware, today marks the ninth anniversary of the death of one of the greatest comedians to ever live; Richard Pryor. In honor of his life and death, we take a moment to reflect his life and how he affected the world of comedy.

Richard Pryor was a groundbreaking African-American comedian and one of the top entertainers of the 1970s and ’80s.

Richard Pryor was born on December 1, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois. A class clown in school and a community theater actor in his teens, Pryor became a successful stand-up comedian, television writer and movie actor, starring in films like Stir Crazy and Greased Lightning. Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986, but continued to perform for several more years. He died of a heart attack in 2005.

Born on December 1, 1940, in Peoria, Illinois. A skilled social satirist with a fondness for profanity, Richard Pryor was a groundbreaking African-American comedian who became one of the top entertainers of the 1970s and ’80s. He got a rough start in life. His mother reportedly worked as a prostitute and his father was a bartender and boxer who served in the military during World War II. His parents married when he was three years old, but the union did not last.

For much of his youth, Pryor was left in his grandmother’s care and lived in the brothel she ran. He also experienced sexual abuse as a child, according to his official website. To step away from the grim reality of his life, Pryor found solace in going to the movies.

At school, Pryor played the part of the class clown. He went on to discover acting in his early teens. A natural performer, Pryor was cast in a production of Rumplestiltskin by Juliette Whittaker, the director of a local community center. She believed in his talent and encouraged him throughout the years.

At the age of 14, Pryor was expelled from school and ended up working a string of jobs until he joined the military in 1958. He served in the army for only two years—he was discharged for fighting with another soldier.

Upon his return home, Pryor married Patricia Price in 1960. The couple had one child together before divorcing. After ending his marriage, Pryor pursued a career as an entertainer. He found work as a comic throughout the Midwest, playing African American clubs in such cities as East St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City. The following year, he made his television debut on the variety show On Broadway Tonight. More guest appearances followed on such shows as The Merv Griffin Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. At the time, his act was modeled after two African American comedians he admired, Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory.

By the late 1960s, Pryor had landed a few small parts on the big screen, appearing in The Busy Body (1967) and Wild in the Streets (1968). He also released his first self-titled comedy album around this time. Pryor even gave marriage another try—he wed Shelly Bonus in 1967. (The couple had one child together—a daughter named Elizabeth—before divorcing in 1969.)

Pryor toured extensively, doing his stand-up act. Playing Las Vegas, he served as Bobby Darin’s opening act at the Flamingo Hotel for a time. He reached an interesting career turning point while playing at the Aladdin in the late 1960s. Tired of the constraints and limitations on his material, Pryor walked off stage and took a break from stand up. He retreated to Berkeley, California, where he met a variety of counterculture figures, including Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton.

In the early 1970s, Pryor scored several successes as an actor and comedian. He earned positive reviews for his supporting role in the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues (1972) starring Diana Ross. In 1973, he netted his first Emmy Award nomination (outstanding writing achievement in comedy, variety) for his work on The Lily Tomlin Show. The following year, Pryor took home his first Emmy (best writing in comedy, variety) for another collaboration with Lily Tomlin: the comedy special Lily (1973). Pryor also wrote for such shows as The Flip Wilson Show and Sanford and Son, which starred comedian Redd Foxx.

Continuing to thrive professionally, Pryor worked with Mel Brooks on the screenplay for western spoof Blazin’ Saddles (1974). His own work was also attracting a lot of attention. Despite its X-rated content, his third comedy album sold extremely well and the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1974—a feat that he repeated over the next two years.

Comedy fans—of all racial backgrounds—were captivated by Pryor’s comedy, which consisted of situational and character-driven humor—not straightforward jokes. He poked fun at the white establishment and explored the racial divide. In one bit, Pryor describes how differently the horror film The Exorcist would have been if it had featured an African American family instead of a white one. Another routine about Muhammad Ali covered how white people never gave Ali enough credit as a fighter.

By the late 1970s, Pryor had a thriving career as an actor. He starred in the box office hit Silver Streak (1976) with Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh. Pryor went on to play the first African American stock car racing champion inGreased Lightning (1977) with Beau Bridges and Pam Grier. He and Grier were involved off-screen for a while before Pryor married his third wife, Deboragh McGuire, in 1977. (They separated after a short while and officially divorced in 1979.)

Off screen and off stage, Pryor had a long history of substance abuse and stormy relationships. In 1978, Pryor had another run-in with the law after he shot his estranged wife’s car. He was on put on probation, fined, and ordered to get psychiatric treatment and make restitution. Four years earlier, Pryor had gotten into legal trouble for failing to file tax returns from 1967 to 1970. He received a fine and probation.

His health began to suffer. He had his first heart attack in 1978. After this health crisis, Pryor started work on what has been considered by many critics to be his finest performance. The film Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979) garnered a lot of praise and sold out at many urban movie theaters. That same year, Pryor traveled to Kenya and after that visit he announced that he would no longer be using the n-word in his act.

Pryor reteamed with Gene Wilder for the popular crime comedy Stir Crazy(1980), which was directed by Sidney Poitier. The film was a huge hit at the box office, earning more than $100 million.

His drug use spiraled out of control the following year. In June 1980, after several days of freebasing cocaine, he lit himself on fire in a suicide attempt. It was initially reported as an accident, but he later admitted in his autobiography that he had done it on purpose in a drug haze. He had third-degree burns on more than 50 percent of his body. Reflective of his comic style, Pryor found the humor in his own suffering. “You know something I noticed? When you run down the street on fire, people will move out of your way.”

After a lengthy recovery, Pryor returned to stand up and acting. He won two more Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Recording—one for Rev. Du Rite in 1981 and one for Live on the Sunset Strip in 1982. Live on the Sunset Stripwas also released as a concert film that same year. He also starred in several films, including Some Kind of Hero (1982) with Margo Kidder and The Toy(1982) with Jackie Gleason. Marrying for the fourth time, Pryor wed Jennifer Lee in 1981, but the couple divorced the following year.

In 1983, Pryor became one of the highest-paid African American actors at the time. He took home $4 million to play an evil henchman in Superman III—reportedly earning more than the film’s star Christopher Reeve. He drew from his own life experience for another important project from this era—Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986). In the autobiographical film, he played a popular stand-up comic who takes a look at his life while recuperating in a hospital after suffering serious burns in a drug-related incident. Around this time, Pryor was briefly married to actress Flynn BeLaine. (The couple made another short-lived attempt at marriage in the early 1990s, as well.)

The following year, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system. He did the best he could to not let the degenerative illness slow him down, starring in several movies, includingCritical Condition (1987), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) with Gene Wilder, and Harlem Nights (1989) with Eddie Murphy and Redd Foxx. By the early 1990s, however, once kinetic Pryor was confined to a wheelchair. Still he kept performing stand-up and acting.

He wrote his autobiography, Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences(1995) with Todd Gold, which earned critical acclaim. That same year, he appeared in an episode of the medical drama Chicago Hope with his daughter Rain as a man with multiple sclerosis. His last film appearance was in David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997).

Pryor became the first person to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center in 1998. He said at the time, “I am proud that, like Mark Twain, I have been able to use humor to lessen people’s hatred.”

In 2001, Pryor remarried Jennifer Lee. He spent his final years with her at his California home. Outside of performing, Pryor was an advocate for animal rights and opposed animal testing. He established Pryor’s Planet, a charity for animals.

On December 10, 2005, Pryor died of a heart attack at a Los Angeles area hospital. He paved the way for such comedians as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and countless others. “Pryor started it all. He made the blueprint for the progressive thinking of black comedians, unlocking that irreverent style,” comedian and filmmaker Keenen Ivory Wayans explained to The New York Times.

Source: Bio


Mike Epps

Mike Epps Talks About New Richard Pryor Film And Nick Cannon’s Version On Hot 97!

Mike Epps stopped by to New York’s Hot 97 while in town for a show he is preparing to do in New Jersey and got a chance to talk about the new Richard Pryor film (to be directed by Lee Daniels and Produced by Oprah Winfrey).

While there he made some interesting statements about Nick Cannon and his new version of a Richard Pryor film he is also trying to produce. It must be said, the statements Epps made were right on point too.

Check out the interview below:


Nick Cannon

Dish Nation: ‘Nick Cannon Planning His Own Richard Pryor TV Movie’!

Nick CannonNick Cannon wants to be Richard Pryor so bad — and Dish Nation has exclusively learned how he’s going to get it!

The America’s Got Talent host was snubbed by director Lee Daniels and executive producer Oprah Winfrey for a feature film biopic about the late comedian in favor of Mike Epps for the role.

But that hasn’t deterred Cannon, 34, who is now pitching his own TV special based on the life of the funnyman, and NBC are said to be very interested.

“Nick was devastated when he found out that he didn’t get the part in Lee Daniels’ new movie,” a source told Dish Nation.

“It’s been Nick’s dream to play Richard Pryor in a movie because he was his inspiration growing up. So when Mike Epps got the part, he may have been down but he certainly wasn’t out.”

As Dish previously reported, Cannon made it sound like Daniels’ flick wasn’t even a go yet when he called into our Atlanta studio last month and spoke with the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

“This is how this game goes. That’s a project that’s been around for decades and honestly, it’s still not even green-lit at this point,” he said at the time.

“It’s certain names and certain people, if a person is gonna do it, it kind of fast tracks the project but now it’s kind of at a stalemate because even Lee Daniels hasn’t even really decided if he’s going to direct it yet.”

But since it looks like project is in fact a go, the source claims Cannon has taken matters into his own hands and he’s not going to let his training for the role go to waste.

“Nick decided that he was going to create his own Pryor tribute — and has even written a proposal for a TV special. He couldn’t wait to tell executives at NBC his plans, and they immediately set up a meeting with him to hear his idea,” the insider continued.

“NBC believes that Nick has exactly the right kind of persona to play Richard and they believe it would pull in TV audiences thanks to his popularity on America’s Got Talent.”

Despite a recent split with his wife of six years, Mariah Carey, Cannon has maintained a stellar reputation and works hard in several gigs to earn his estimated $20 million empire.

“Nick is absolutely stoked that they are taking his pitch seriously, and wants to be a better Richard Pryor than Mike Epps,” the source told Dish.

“As he sees it, it’s his destiny and he’s really excited that he might get to live out his fantasy.”

Source: Dish Nation