I Am Richard Pryor will World Premiere at SXSW on Tuesday March 12, but for those of you not down here in Austin, you’ll be able to see it for yourself just a few days later on March 15th. The broadcast premiere lands on the Paramount Network first at 10pm, with an encore presentation to follow on Comedy Central later that night at 11:30pm.
The new doc is the latest installment in the “I Am” documentary franchise. The episode explores and celebrates the life and career of the iconic comedian who lifted himself out of poverty to achieve worldwide success and nearly universal recognition of being one of the greatest comedians in the history of the medium. From his first comedy album until his death of a heart attack in 2005, the revolutionary stand-up comedian dispensed what critics regarded as the most poignant and penetrating comedic view of African-American life ever afforded to the U.S. at large. 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 includes exclusive interviews with comedians, filmmakers, family, and friends including Sandra Bernhard, Ron De Blasio, Dr. Todd Boyd, Michael Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Henry Jaglom, Howie Mandel, Thom Mount, Ishmael Reed, Scott Saul, Michael Schultz, Greg Tate, Lily Tomlin, Rocco Urbisci, Jimmie Walker, and Jennifer Pryor, who is also featured, and during a moving and poignant moment in the documentary, uniquely honors the life of her husband.
The documentary, directed by Jesse James Miller, is the latest from Network Entertainment’s award-winning filmmaker Derik Murray, who has previously produced films on epochal figures such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Heath Ledger, Bruce Lee, Paul Walker, and Chris Farley. The documentary is Executive Produced by Paul Gertz, Kent Wingerak, and Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Pryor. Paramount Network’s Jaimee Kosanke also serves as Executive Producer.
The original documentary series “I Am” is an inside look at the lives of extraordinary individuals, told by the people who knew them best. The award-winning franchise from filmmaker Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment, which began in 2012 with I Am Bruce Lee, features documentaries that provide biographical portraits of iconic figures including John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Sam Kinison, Paul Walker, Chris Farley, and Heath Ledger, which recently received two Realscreen awards.