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WATCH: 'Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic' Clips

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 31, 2013 at 5:20PM

If you like Louis CK or Chris Rock, acerbic, sharp comedians who like to dig into who we are and how we feel about each other, check out Marina Zenovich's "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic," which offers a fascinating portrait of the brilliant and troubled comic who paved the way.
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Richard Pryor

If you like Louis CK or Chris Rock, acerbic, sharp comedians who like to dig into who we are and how we feel about each other, check out Marina Zenovich's "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic," which offers a fascinating portrait of the brilliant and troubled comic who paved the way.

I grew up with Pryor--I remember first seeing him in "Hootenanny," of all things. Zenovich follows his career from talk-show friendly 60s comic through his Las Vegas epiphany, when he turned on his audience, spitting epithets and the N-word. He went on to churn out scabrous records and stage shows, struggled with an NBC series, and helped Mel Brooks to write "Blazing Saddles" before finding a mainstream movie career.

Zenovich talks to a wide swath of people who knew him well, from the many women in his life to his fellow comics, from Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg to Dave Chappelle and Lily Tomlin.

While we think we know the dramatic breaking points in Pryor's life--most notably setting himself on fire during a rum-and-crack session--I did not know the details of the brothel his Madea-like grandmother ran in Peoria, Illinois, or his stint with M.S. late in his life. Zenovich was not able to grill the late comedian, and it's sad to see him trying to make a comeback after his brush with death--only to succumb to drugs again.

The film premiered at Tribeca and debuts on Showtime Friday night.


 

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic Promo Clip 1 from Marina Zenovich on Vimeo.




This article is related to: Video, Documentary, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.