YEAR: 1981


Richard Prior stars in this 1986 semi-autobiographical dramedy. Prior’s character is a comedian who has a near death experience during which he reviews the events of his life. John DeCuir Jr. was the production designer for this film, helming the creation of sets in both Los Angeles and Peoria, Illinois.


In this film that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo’s spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction.


Richard Pryor


John DeCuir Jr.