Richard Pryor – one of the most culturally-significant, nearly-unprintable and flat-out funniest stand-up comedians in history – will be celebrated by Shout! Factory this summer with a massive career-spanning box set.
No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert captures more than 12 hours of Pryor, from his popular (if comparatively pedestrian) early works as a Cosby-esque stand-up in the 1960s, to his wildly popular, immensely controversial glory years in the 1970s and 1980s to his last stand-up appearances in the 1990s, before retiring from the stage to cope with multiple sclerosis.
Pryor’s glory years, of course, were punctuated by genuinely funny and captivating observations on American issues in the at-times turbulent ’70s. He fearlessly discussed race, crime, drugs and a slew of other hot-button issues – and did so in ways that most publications would have trouble printing even today. Pryor parlayed that success into television and film, making one of the most notable appearances of Saturday Night Live‘s early run, as well as co-writing Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (Pryor was in fact the first choice for the lead role of Black Bart) and a run of films with Saddles co-star Gene Wilder, including Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.
Though Pryor passed away in 2005, his influence looms large over stand-up comedians; Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle doubtlessly owe their ability to speak uncompromisingly about race to Pryor, and most of his contemporaries from Bob Newhart to Jerry Seinfeld have gone on record concerning his comic abilities.
Following the idea of Shout! Factory’s terrific The Incredible Mel Brooks box, No Pryor Restraint will feature an exhaustive look at Pryor’s career with seven CDs and two DVDs, including two hours of previously unreleased content on top of his most classic albums. “The best material from Pryor’s classic albums for the Laff, Stax & Warner Bros. labels” will be featured, as well as compilation-only material, including tracks from:
- Richard Pryor (Dove/Reprise, 1968)
- ‘Craps’ (After Hours) (Laff, 1971)
- That N—–‘s Crazy (Partee/Stax, 1974)
- …Is It Something I Said? (Reprise, 1975)
- Bicentennial N—– (Warner Bros., 1976)
- Wanted: Richard Pryor Live In Concert (Warner Bros., 1978)
- Live on the Sunset Strip (Warner Bros., 1982)
- Here and Now (Warner Bros., 1983)
- …And It’s Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings 1968-1992 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2000)
- Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years 1966-1974 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2005)
The box will also contain the concert films Richard Pryor Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) and Richard Pryor Here and Now (1983). There will also be a book inside the package, featuring “rare photos, multiple essays, exclusive celebrity tributes, a discography, a filmography, and a personal note penned by Richard’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor.”
Those who pre-order from Shout! Factory directly get a tenth bonus disc – the unreleased Live At The Comedy Store, October 1973 CD – and will see it ship in mid-May, well ahead of its June 11 street date. The A.V. Club also has an exclusive unreleased audio clip from the box. We’ll update this post with Amazon links and a track list as it’s available.