On this day in comedy on May 2, 1986, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling was released by Columbia Pictures
Richard Pryor stars in and directed this take on his own life. Starting once he’s set himself on fire freebasing cocaine, his spirit leaves his hospital bed-confined smoldering body to relive his existence and see where he went wrong. Up from his youth raised in a brothel to his early struggling stand up days on the chitlin circuit, the film hits all the major beats of the legendary entertainer’s true story.
Jo Jo overindulges once he makes it. Sound familiar? Then again, it’s hard to overindulge before you make it because – how? Anyway, Pryor’s character overdoes it with women, drugs and his own ego. After he’s made his journey through his life, Jo Jo returns to the hospital and climbs back into himself; hopefully a better and more enlightened man.
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling is the only film Richard Pryor ever directed. It co-starred Paula Kelly, Carmen McRae, Billy Eckstine, Debbie Allen, Art Evans, Diahnne Abbott, Barbara Williams. Michael Ironside and Wings Hauser. The film was written by Paul Mooney, Rocco Urbisci and Pryor with music by Herbie Hancock. It made $18,034,150 at the box office.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: