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Comedy Central Home Video presents
Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!—Uncensored! (2003)

"Muslims. Double Muslims, them's the ones you don't want to f*** with—dem double Muslims. 'Cause them motherf***ers can't wait to get to Allah. And want to take eight or nine motherf***ers with 'em."
- Richard Pryor, performing stand-up comedy in 1982

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: November 23, 2004

Stars: Richard Pryor, Mario Cantone, Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, Mos Def, Jamie Foxx, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Griffin, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Denis Leary, George Lopez, Bernie Mac, Jennifer Lee Pryor, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Robert Townsend, George Wallace, Robin Williams
Director: Billy Grundfest

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic language, drug references, sex references)
Run Time: 00h:41m:37s
Release Date: November 16, 2004
UPC: 097368864641
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-BB B

DVD Review

Richard Pryor may have been the most offensive and challenging of all stand-up comics at the height of his career. He also was perhaps the funniest. Comedy Central aired a special tribute to him, featuring a collection of interviews by prominent comedians. Sadly, Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!—Uncensored! isn't much of a tribute to Pryor, either as a man or as a comedian.

The program suffers from a hyper-kinetic editing style that would be more at home in an MTV music video than a tribute. Footage of Pryor's act is cut between comments by Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Denis Leary, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, and many others (most of which are tremendous comics in their own right). The problem is, most of what is included here is nothing more than a repeating of what Pryor is saying. Chris Rock is amazing at telling jokes, but do we really need him to explain the same joke that we just saw Pryor tell? Additionally, much of what the different interviewees say overlaps. The beginning of the program has the phrase "he shot the car" (a reference to one of Pryor's more famous jokes) repeated at least a dozen times by a dozen different people. The intention is to make the show hip, but it just makes it annoying.

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!—Uncensored! has next to nothing in terms of story arc. Each segment is devoted to a specific element of his comedy—be it racism, drugs, or sex—but there's no illumination on the significance of Pryor's comedy. This is a real shame, because his ex-wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, is one of the people being interviewed, but the fast-paced editing never gives her the opportunity to really talk about him. What we are left with, instead, are some crude comments about his pet name for her vagina. One of the more disturbing elements of this special is that none of the people being interviewed seem to be aware of the great tragedy cocaine wrought upon Pryor. They laugh as they remember his routine, but there is not one comment in the whole program that addresses the seriousness of the situation.

The segments that focus on Pryor's stand-up act, movies, and variety show are the highlights of the special. The people being interviewed try to be funny, but when juxtaposed against the real thing, they pale in comparison. Pryor's brutal, offensive humor always delivers laughs, but it's not enough to make up for the unsubstantive and annoying tone of this program. He deserves a tribute, and this does not fit the bill.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image quality is noticeably different between the interviews recorded for this show and the archive footage of Pryor. The grain in Pryor's acts, movies, and interviews is understandable, since the source footage is older and was shot in low light levels. As for the new interviews, they are flawlessly rendered with accurate skin tones and no edge enhancement. But, a talking head is still just a talking head.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Stereo sound mix sounds nice, especially the bass from the score. It isn't a particularly dynamic mix, with the sound being relegated entirely to the front soundstage. Dialogue is clear, which makes both the archival footage and the interviews easy to understand.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring South Park: The Complete Fifth Season DVD, Crank Yankers: Season One UNCENSORED, The Hebrew Hammer, The Ren & Stimpy Show Uncut: First and Second Seasons
7 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Comedy Central Quickies—excerpts from four Comedy Central TV shows.
Extras Review: The supplemental material on this disc is surprisingly good, which makes one wonder why the excised interviews weren't included when the show originally aired. However, before getting to the good stuff, there are four trailers for upcoming Comedy Central DVDs. The trailers for South Park: The Complete Fifth Season DVD, Crank Yankers: Season One Uncensored, The Hebrew Hammer, and The Ren & Stimpy Show Uncut: First and Second Seasons play prior to the main menu showing up and can be accessed through the menu, as well. Each is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, with Dolby Stereo surround sound.

Following that is a collection of seven deleted scenes, sort of. Technically, these aren't deleted scenes, but more accurately a collection of additional interview footage not used in the final product. They can be viewed with a Play All function, with a total runtime of 29m:31s. The additional footage is sorely missed in the final product, because the editing is toned down here, allowing those speaking to complete their thoughts. Especially worth a look is the first scene, Love of Richard, in which Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Lee Pryor, and others offer some interesting insight about how Richard Pryor has effected their lives.

The final supplement here are four excerpts from the Comedy Central TV shows Reno 911! (01m:35s), Crank Yankers (02m:28s), South Park (01m:51s), and Chappelle's Show (02m:19s). All four are entertaining, especially the Chappelle's Show riff at the anti-drug ads.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Comedy Central's DVD release of Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!—Uncensored! is a rare release, because the extras are better than the feature. Accompanying the extras are good image and sound transfers, even if they aren't incredibly impressive. A better investment of money would be audio recordings of Pryor's act.

 


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