very good movie, but confused....

I was just watching Jo Jo Dancer, and I know that Jo Jo was just an image of Richard Pryor's real life, but I got a lot of questions I need to ask, so bear with me.....

1. First of all, why didn't Richard wanted to use his real name or real hometown for the film? Was he too ashamed or what?

2. Richard's mother passed away in 1967 when he was 27 years old. His father died a year later. But in the movie, it seemed like his father lived a lot longer, though they didn't show much of him after that conflict in the kitchen/living room.

3. In the movie, Richard was just starting comedy right after he quit his day job. But in real life, he was already a comic before his mother's passing. He was on Broadway Tonight back in 1964 and I thought that was when he got his start. When he moved out of town to do stand up, he acted so nervous like it was his first time getting on stage, but he's done comedy a little before that.

4. What was Richard still doing living at home? I read somewhere that he bought his parents a house, but the father claimed it was his.

5. Was one of his wives really was a dancer/stripper?

6. How come they didn't show any parts of him firing the gun on his wife's tires or whatever.

7. Where was his children? By 1967, he had already had over 3 kids

8. Why did Richard seem so nervous when he was young? It seemed like everytime he said something, he was scared. But as he got older, he was a bit calmer.

9. And is it me, or does this movie just make you feel a lot better about yourself, due to the fact that even the most magnficant people in the world go through tough times? It's a very sad and funny film, but it also teaches you that you can change your life, follow your dreams and make a difference. Like my grandmother said, "Every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a lot of dirt to get there"

Anywho, please send some answers. I need to get this straighten out.


This wasn't supposed to be a documentary. Yes, it's autobiographical, but in the sense that ALL THAT JAZZ was to Bob Fosse. The events and characters are impressions of the real things, not to be taken literally. The character is called Jo Jo Dancer, not Richard Pryor. Pryor's TV debut was ON BROADWAY TONIGHT, but he had been doing stand-up for some years beforehand. I have some memories of him in his early incarnation, when he was still in Bill Cosby-mode. And yes, his persona was that of a jittery neophyte.


I can't believe no one responded to this post in a year...

This movie is semi-biographical in that it wasn't meant to directly be Richard Pryor's life, but rather a story inspired by his life.

I couldn't tell you why he didn't just do a direct biographical movie...

Maybe he was worried it wouldn't sell, or maybe he wasn't quite ready to say to the world "Yes, this is my life" (although most people believed it to be anyway), or maybe he was just too modest and didn't think it would be as interesting?

I'm not sure about all of the particulars since I'm not well versed on his life away from the camera, but this should explain your basic questions.

Regardless, I thought it was a great movie, and would have been even had it been purely fictional. Everyone already knew Richard Pryor was a great comedian, but after watching this movie it becomes obvious he was also a great human being.


I suspect the reason this is only "semi"-autobiographical has to do with lawyers and protecting the reputations and estates of people who were still alive when this film came out. I did find it rather confusing that biographical details were changed for the film, but I think the major points portrayed here were true to his life even though some of the names and places were changed.


To be fair no biographical film follows ALL the details EXACTLY as they were and add a lot of fiction, change events, etc to make the film work as a film and a piece of entertainment.

As someone else already said, it's not a documentary.

Still most bio films do maintain the people's real names as and where needed.
So the only thing "strange" about this film is the fact Richard Pryor was not playing Richard Pryor (in name) or other names had been changed. I look at it as a character piece based on Pryor's life and not a film about Pryor's life directly.
However, everything else...changing dates and events to keep the pace of the movie flowing is about right for a film of this ilk...otherwise most bio films would be weeks long in runing time.

Jesus died for our sins. As he's already dead...sin away.


Richard himself said this wasn't really his autobiography, but based on his life, so it was a semi-autobiography. He probably fictionalized some stuff to make it a better story.
We do see one of his children, by the white wife. As to his nervousness at his youth, I think he was like that in real life.
Also, we see him crashing the wife's car, so that is an example of making the story more fictional and more interesting.