“Pimps, poverty, racism — he took all that dark shit and made it light,” says writer and historian Dr. Todd Boyd in the Paramount Network’s upcoming documentary I Am Richard Pryor, which dives deep into the life of the titular comedy legend. The film will have its world premiere on March 12 at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin and will debut March 15 on the Paramount Network.
As part of the network’s I Am docuseries, I Am Richard Pryor is directed by Jesse James Miller and explores and celebrates the life and career of the iconic comedian who lifted himself out of poverty to achieve worldwide success. As seen in the trailer above, Miller tells the story of Pryor via his wife Jennifer as well as high-profile comedians, writers, producers and actors including Sandra Bernhard, Ron De Blasio, Michael Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Howie Mandel, Lily Tomlin, Rocco Urbisci, Jimmie Walker and others.
Volatile yet vulnerable, crass but sensitive, streetwise and cocky, Pryor did not simply tell stories, he brought them to life and was considered a trailblazer for generations of comics to come. The film explores his unusually personal art that was a window into a vulnerable soul, as well as the endless struggle to extend dignity and equality to all.
I Am Richard Pryor is the beginning of three chapters of the Paramount Network’s I Am franchise from Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment. The second and third installments, featuring Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Patrick Swayze, will be announced at a later date. The trio of docus join a prestigious I Am roster that has featured John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Sam Kinison and Chris Farley.
I Am Richard Pryor is executive produced by Paul Gertz, Kent Wingerak and Jennifer Pryor. Paramount Network’s Jaimee Kosanke also serves as Executive Producer. Check out the trailer above, but beware of some NSFW language. Of course.