Scarred Richard Pryor returns to film stand-up comedy show: Part 10

He returned to Hollywood to film "Live on the Sunset Strip." During a set, he even joked about the fire, making it seem like an accident. He later admitted to a suicide attempt.
4:30 | 01/17/20

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Transcript for Scarred Richard Pryor returns to film stand-up comedy show: Part 10
Only on Verizon. We were living in Hawaii at the time. We had just gotten married, August 16, 1981. The lawyer came down and said, it's your time, Richard. And I said, no, you have to chill. We need to stay here, Richard, and not get back on the band wagon. I checked into this hotel, and I knocked on the door. And I could see all the scarring on his legs, on his chest, on his arms. First words out of his mouth were, "Don't worry skip, it didn't get my junk." And then he says, "Well, I'm also broke." He came back to soon. All the people look at that and go, that's the ultimate film" live own sunset." But not for me. Richard was actually very excited to go back to work. He loved working. So I said, "Well, you can go on the road, and then we'll film it, and we'll sell it as a movie." I think that for Richard, his talk therapy was on stage. You know, that wasn't always a safe place, either. After the fire, I think it became more of a scary place for him. He couldn't find himself. I was still afflicted with the same old problems. The scars I now had on the outside only mirrored the ones I'd had on the inside my entire life. There was a lot of pressure in the comeback, because this was a pathway to both get him out of the financial problems he was in as well as getting back into the movie business. He was very nervous about it. This is a guy who nearly killed himself. And so this was great curiosity. People wanted to know what he looked like. What version of Richard Pryor will we see this time? The first night he cracked up. It was the worst performance everything was off. The punchlines wasn't there. He walked out on stage and said, "I can't do it. I want it to be something else. It's just not there. I don't know why I'm here, people. I'm not doing it. And he walked off. And he came back the next night, and he killed it. Ladies and gentlemen, live on the sunset strip, Richard Pryor. I remember him coming on stage. He still had the scars, and they were -- this were very apparent and very fresh. He lights a match and says, what's this? Richard Pryor running down the street. The audience went wild that he was making a joke about something like that. Usually before I go to bed, I have milk and cookies. And one night, I had some low-fat milk and some pasteurized. And I mixed them together and I dipped my cookie, and the Blew up. He told a joke, he didn't tell the truth. He made it seem like an accident, when we know later it wasn't an accident. You're the celebrity, people tend to think if you make all of this money, nothing hurts you or that you can take care of it. I tried to commit suicide. It didn't work. Yes, it did. You killed the old Richard Pryor? Yeah, that person's dead. He was a horrible man. I think Richard Pryor's experience, that moment where he nearly died changed him. He talks about his trip to Africa and how he had a revelation about the use of the N word. I was sitting around and a voice said to me, "Look around, what do you see?" I said, "I see all colors of people doing everything." And the voice said, "Do you see any ?" I said, "No." And it say, "You know why? Because there aren't any." When we came back to America, he said, I'm not using that word a loft people had a hard time with it. Oh, you're forgetting where you come from, brother, you're you know, what are you doing? You're selling out. He didn't want to be a megaphone. He wanted to be this or his who is on their own journey.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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