- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chappelle lauds Pryor

D.C.-born funnyman Dave Chappelle will break his self-imposed silence (since abruptly exiting his hit show on Comedy Central with a $50 million paycheck and no explanation) to join a host of comedians and others paying tribute to the late comic legend Richard Pryor tonight on BET.

The life and legacy of Mr. Pryor, who suffered from multiple sclerosis and died of a heart attack Dec. 10, will be recalled on “Richard Pryor: The Funniest Man Dead or Alive,” airing at 7:30 p.m. with an encore showing at 11 p.m. Along with Mr. Chappelle, the show — hosted by BET News anchor Jacque Reid — will feature remembrances by fellow comics Chris Tucker, Dick Gregory, Wanda Sykes, Paul Mooney, Mike Epps, Tracey Morgan, Mo’Nique, Charlie Murphy, Alex Thomas and Steve Harvey, as well as by Lorne Michaels, executive producer of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Mr. Pryor’s wife and caregiver Jennifer Lee Pryor, former wife Flynn Pryor, children Stephen Pryor and Kelsey Pryor, and former bodyguard Rashaun Khan also will share rare and personal anecdotes, the network says, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson will offer special reflections.

On Thursday, BET will air “Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling,” Mr. Pryor’s 1986 semi-autobiographical film about a comedian who reviews his life after severely burning himself while using drugs.

Catch up with ‘Chris’

Beginning tonight, UPN will air episodes of its Golden Globes-nominated sitcom, “Everbody Hates Chris,” nightly at 8 through Thursday.

The episode lineup includes: “Everybody Hates Christmas” (tonight), “Everybody Hates Fat Mike” (tomorrow), “Everybody Hates Greg” (Wednesday) and “Everybody Hates the Laundromat” (Thursday).

“Chris,” based on the formative years of its creator, comedian Chris Rock, last week received a Golden Globes nomination in the best television series, musical or comedy category.

Mandel’s new ‘Deal’

Despite feature films and an untold number of TV appearances, superstar fame has somehow eluded comedian Howie Mandel.

Perhaps “Deal or No Deal” — already a hit in 35 other countries and making its American debut at 8 tonight on NBC with Mr. Mandel as host — will change all that, but we seriously doubt it, since the program is destined for a short five-episode run that ends on Friday.

Hoping to win, 26 contestants will wheel and deal their way through sealed briefcases filled with varying amounts of cash — ranging from one penny to $1 million. Without knowing the content inside, each player can decide to keep the briefcase, if they choose, until its unsealing at the end of the game.

The risk element of the game kicks in when the player must choose between keeping their briefcase until the end of the game or accepting a “deal” from “the Bank” for a cash offer in exchange for whatever dollar amount is in the sealed briefcase — prompting Mr. Mandel to ask the all-important question, “Deal or no deal”?

Hmm … haven’t we seen a similar concept, sans the briefcases, of course, on the old game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” where greed often got the better of contestants who bid away something for something (sight unseen) they presumed was better? Just asking.

Browns back on Bravo

The Browns are back, at least temporarily.

“Being Bobby Brown,” Bravo’s loathsome summer reality hit starring the has-been R&B; singer and his wife Whitney Houston, returns to the network Wednesday for (hopefully) one night only.

The couple and their kin will appear in “Christmas With the Browns,” a half-hour serving of the clan that will air at 11 p.m.

“Bravo couldn’t let 2005 come to an end without indulging viewers with another helping of ‘Being Bobby Brown,’” Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick gushed in a statement appearing on thefutoncritic.com.

Well, actually, they could have — given the level of vulgarity displayed by Mr. Brown (including the excessive profanity, court appearances and his candid description of assisting his wife with a bowel movement). Miss Houston’s demeanor, believe it or not, was far worse.

According to published reports, Wednesday’s special will feature the famous duo trimming the tree and making preparations for a big holiday spread (including trips to the grocery store and stirring pots in the kitchen) at their Atlanta abode. Other family members and friends will join in, and visits from “special guests” are promised.

Adds Miss Zalaznick: “This holiday special will take a look at how this very public family spends their private holiday time together.”

“Being Bobby Brown,” which debuted last June, captured candid in-your-face footage of the famous couple’s daily doings over a six-month period. Its two back-to-back original episodes averaged more than 1.1 million viewers, Bravo says, making it the highest-rated Thursday program premiere in the network’s 25-year history.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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