The world of stand-up comedy has grown substantially over recent decades, inspired by several esteemed individuals who could essentially be considered the founding fathers of the modern version of the artform. Among those individuals is none other than the legendary Richard Pryor, an African-American comedian who graced stages during the second half of the 20th century with a sense of self-awareness and a tenacity that struck a chord within the world of comedy. Pryor’s style has been revered for decades now, and it appears as though his legacy will be cemented in film as MGM Studios is beginning production on a biopic about the comedian’s life, with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris set to write, produce and direct the upcoming project.
The legacy of Richard Pryor is not something to be understated, and it looks like Barris is eager to illuminate that legacy for the entire world to see. It has also been reported that Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, will produce alongside Barris in ensuring that the film remains as authentic as possible. An earlier attempt to tell Pryor’s story via Harvey Weinstein’s production company fell through in 2016, thankfully, but it looks as though Barris is fully dedicated to telling this story in the best way possible. In a statement regarding Pryor and the upcoming project, Barris said: “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.” It is quite obvious that he has only the utmost respect for the comedy legend and truly hopes to inform the world about the genius of Richard Pryor, and working alongside Pryor’s widow there is little doubt that he will be able to deliver.
Pryor’s legacy is certainly not limited to comedy, regardless of if it is what he is lauded for. He not only possesses a laundry list of film and television credits, including his own television show; throughout his career, he also amassed five Grammy Awards and was the first recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Pryor was not a one-dimensional man, but a jack of all trades who could light up a room for hours on end with little to no effort, and this upcoming biopic should make that clear to the entire world. Though the upcoming project has yet to be given even a title, it is relatively safe to assume that once production begins rolling that viewers are going to be enthralled by the story of arguably one of the most enigmatic characters in American history.