This comedy skit aired on NBC television in 1977 as part of the “Richard Pryor Show”.
“The Richard Pryor Show lasted only 4 episodes during the 1977 season. In contrast to the goofy, cookie cutter “bad comedy skits with songs” type of variety show that dominated the airwaves of the day, Pryor’s program was a true variety show, featuring an unpredictable mix of satire, social commentary, conceptual comedy, improvisation, slapstick, and the occasional dramatic bit. From the start, the show faced controversy about its time slot and subject matter. Pryor’s contract stated that the show was to air at 9:00 p.m. but it was aired at 8:00 p.m. Many people wondered why NBC would put one of America’s most controversial and profanity-laced artist’s show in the middle of “family hour” on Tuesdays. Many more wondered why the network slotted the show opposite the most popular shows of the day all but assuring its failure. Pryor was ready to quit before production even began because of network intervention, indifference, and incompetence during the development stage, but was eventually wooed back, agreeing to do four episodes of the show instead of the ten originally required by his contract. The four episodes were produced and they aired in consecutive weeks. But, the network interference that had almost caused the show to be still-born reared its ugly head right from the start when the very first episode’s introductory bit was cut just before air. The bit began with a close up of Pryor’s face as he explained that he was not going to have to give anything up in order to bring his brand of comedy to network television. Then the camera pulled back to show an apparantly nude Pryor with his genitals removed. Ironically, Pryor was actually wearing a full-length body stocking, so no actual nudity was shown. Equally ironic was the fact that so many news programs aired the controversial snippet that more people ended up seeing it than would have if it had simply aired as a part of the show. The Richard Pryor Show did not do well in the ratings while the programs that preceded it and followed it were highly rated. After Pryor fulfilled his contractual obligations, neither he nor the network pursued the production of any further episodes or specials. Despite the show’s failure, and despite the network’s creative interference, today the Richard Pryor Show is considered to have been four hours of daring, unique, highly creative television so far ahead of its time that it still seems new and fresh.”