Yes, that question mark was part of the title. As if Mr. Pryor couldn’t believe it his own self.
I’m willing to bet that 99 out of every 100 black folks in their mid-40s remember watching that special. Especially Maya Angelou’s dramatic monologue (which puzzled me then). Or the pageant of black models posing to a recitation of Langston Hughes’s “Harlem Sweeties.”
Or the Idi Amin sketch.
I’m streaming audio of the Idi Amin sketch on my Vox blog. Click here to hear it. I don’t know for a fact who wrote it... but the bitter tang of it says Paul Mooney. (Note the strategic deployment of the N-word.)
By the way, Mooney and Richard Pryor earned their Writers Guild cards at the same time, after co-scripting an episode of “Sanford and Son.”
“The Richard Pryor Special?” aired on May 5, 1977. It’s available on DVD, packaged with the four episodes of “The Richard Pryor Show” that were broadcast in the fall of ’77 on NBC.