Mike Epps Reveals Richard Pryor’s Wife Doesn’t Want Him To Star In Biopic

While chatting with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson for their All The Smoke podcast, Mike Epps spoke about being in possible talks to play the late Richard Pryor in his biopic, and also why it never happened.

“I was gonna play Richard Pryor and I didn’t screw his ex-wife and she got mad,” he joked as the other hosts bust out in laughter. “‘You’re not gonna play Richard, you didn’t spank this a**,’” he mocked her. “I said, ‘Nope, I ain’t playing Richard Pryor then.’”

He added, “She gon’ sue me for this. ‘You’re going to People’s Court ni**a.’”

Epps then recalled attending Pryor’s funeral in 2005 after the iconic comedian died from a heart attack. He expressed his disappointment in Pryor’s friends for not speaking at his services, especially the late Paul Mooney. However, he did mention that Mo’Nique and George Lopez spoke, even though neither comedian knew Pryor personally.

Richard Pryor, a veteran of both stand-up and film comedy.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Upshaws star also shared that during the ceremony Pryor’s casket remained closed, to which he later found out that Pryor was never inside, but had been cremated prior. He joked that Diana Ross began singing in the middle of the funeral upon the revelation, which in response caused both hosts to laugh uncontrollably.

Epps shared that the night of the funeral is when Pryor’s ex-wife asserted that she felt he wasn’t “ready” to play her husband. He joked that he responded to her with “f**k you bi**h,” before sharing what he really said.

“I told her, ‘Look here, I love Richard Pryor. I love him to death,’” he said. “But my kids don’t know who he is. If you’re gonna see a Richard Pryor movie with me in it, you’re going to see Mike Epps play Richard Pryor.”

Richard Pryor with wife Jennifer and daughter Rain

Richard Pryor with wife Jennifer and daughter Rain, accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, Ca., March 3, 2000.

Additionally, he discussed the current state of comedy and addressed “cancel culture,” which many seasoned comedians face nowadays for making jokes about “sensitive” topics.

“You gotta weigh your odds,” he began before naming Katt Williams, Corey Holcomb and Dave Chappelle as “fearless” comedians. “They over there saying everything I wanna say. But I can’t mess my money up because I know how to act in a movie, I know how to do TV. I know how to produce. I’m over here trying to protect that.”

He ended with agreeing that comedy has “suffered” from the public’s sensitivity. He also foreshadowed that if legendary comedians like Pryor, Redd Foxx, Bernie Mac were alive today, they “wouldn’t have made it in this time,” and most likely would have “walked away” from the industry.

See the full clip of Mike Epps below.

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