This is not a film in any respect, except to note the medium Richard Pryor’s stand-up routine was captured on in two nights at the Palladium in 1981. Director Joe Layton and cameraman Haskell Wexler make no noticeable contributions and often fail to solve the problems of concert lensing.
But Pryor is truly amazing and that’s all that counts. After a number of roles in successful pictures, he brings an acting ability to his stage routine that enhances his well-established talent for caricature. What this allows him to do is pull the audience into moments of genuine emotion, then clobber them suddenly with a hilarious switch.
By far the best comes with a candid discussion of his drug addiction that culminates in the freebase explosion that almost killed him.