Throwing out material is a frightening prospect for any entertainer. For some performers it can take years to compile a half-hour show. Especially in comedy, recycled material can feel reheated quickly; it ends careers of comedians who refuse to change their once popular, soon hackneyed material.
Today with successes like Louis C.K. and John Mulaney, it’s hard for comedians not to feel pressure to accumulate new material annually.
Some comedians could ride on catchphrases for a few years, but the idea of starting fresh and reinventing oneself has existed in comedy for half a century. Throwing out material is daunting, but it’s a technique to get better and learn about what [...]
"'You’ve all been asking me to put Chevy [Chase] and Richard [Pryor] together,' I say. After all the bullshit I’ve been put through to get here, the fucking cross-examination Lorne [Michaels] subjects me to, I decide to do a job interview of my own. Chevy’s the boss, interviewing Richard for a janitor’s job."
-Paul Mooney in an excerpt from the new Richard Pryor biography, Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him in Salon, telling the story of the famous 1975 Chevy Chase/Richard Pryor racial slur job interview sketch from SNL.
Forest Whitaker has signed on as a producer, taking over development of the biopic of influential stand-up Richard Pryor, Deadline reports. A movie about Pryor's life has been in development since 1995, with everyone from Damon Wayans to Eddie Griffin, Mike Epps to Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock to director Martin Scorsese being involved at one point or another. Most recently, filmmaker Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) was onboard to direct the movie with Marlon Wayans playing Pryor, but Condon put the project on hold in 2010 to direct the Twilight sequels Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2. Forest Whitaker will be developing a new script, with input from Richard [...]
It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?
It feels appropriate to be wrapping up nearly a year’s worth of comedy documentaries with a look at one of the greatest comedians ever, and one of the first comedy documentaries I ever saw. When Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet Mother@!#%$!! first aired [...]
Lost Roles is a weekly column exploring “what might have been” in movie and TV comedy as we take a different actor, writer, or comedian each week and examine the parts they turned down, wanted but didn’t get, and the projects that fell apart altogether. This week, we turn our attention to Chris Rock, one of the most prominent stand-ups of his generation as well as an accomplished actor and writer. Let’s take a look at the roles Chris Rock almost played over the years, including Jimmy Olsen in Tim Burton’s Superman movie, voicing KITT the Talking Car in the Knight Rider reboot, and starring in a Richard Pryor [...]