The Richard Pryor Special? aired on May 5, 1977, and created an immediate sensation for NBC. The network had given Pryor an hour in prime time to put on a show of his choice. Pryor chose to bring his irreverence humor to a nation mainstream television audience- explosive! His gut-wrenching honesty coupled with Pryor’s ability to deliver authentic pathos are the hallmarks of his comedy. One such moment was the sketch featuring Maya Angelou.
The 11 minute sketch opens in a local bar three drunk regulars and the bartender (John Belushi) Willie (Richard Pryor) returns from the bathroom after getting sick. Pryor, the consummate storyteller, masterfully creates a three-dimensional character, who ranges from hapless to hopeless.
Willie arrives at home, where his wife (Maya Angelou) expresses her feelings to him while he is passed out on the sofa. The scene becomes a four-minute soliloquy for Angelou, who masterfully turns a comedic skit into a moment of sheer pathos.
Richard Pryor and Maya Angelou FromThe Richard Pryor Special? (1977)