Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling

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Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling
Jo jo dancer your life is calling.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Pryor
Written byRocco Urbisci
Paul Mooney
Richard Pryor
Produced byRichard Pryor
StarringRichard Pryor
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Edited byDonn Cambern
Music byHerbie Hancock
Indigo Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 2, 1986 (1986-05-02)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$18,034,150[1]

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling is a 1986 American biographical[2] comedy-drama film directed, produced by and starring Richard Pryor, who also wrote the screenplay with Paul Mooney and Rocco Urbisci. This was the first[3] and only feature film that Pryor directed[4] (although he is credited as such on the screen version of Richard Pryor: Here and Now).


Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian, who has severely burned himself while freebasing cocaine. The film came out six years after Pryor had set himself on fire while freebasing.


As Dancer lies hospitalized in a coma, his spiritual alter ego revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top-rated comedian. However, his success leads to extensive drug use and womanizing that takes its toll on his life. It affects every relationship, including his marriages. Jo Jo's spirit watches and attempts to convince his past self to end the cycle of self-destruction.



The earlier parts of the film were shot in Pryor's hometown of Peoria, Illinois.


Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling received mixed reviews from critics. It currently has a 54% "Rotten" rating on the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes based on 13 reviews.

In popular culture[edit]

The title of the film is mentioned in the lyrics to the 2013 Afrojack song "The Spark" and the 2016 Danny Brown song “Downward Spiral”.

In the TV series Archer, the movie was referenced in the 8th episode of Season 7, "Liquid Lunch",[5] by Dr. Krieger as the one-man show, “Jo Jo Dancer - Ihr Leben Ruft”, he was performing. The implication being a German language version of the screenplay performed in black face. Although the German title for the film is actually “Jo Jo Dancer – Dein Leben ruft”


  1. ^ "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling", Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 4, 1986). "Richard Pryor Comes Clean In Harrowing Recap Of Life". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "Short Circuit A Box-office Live Wire". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  4. ^ "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  5. ^ "Sort by Popularity - Most Popular Movies and TV Shows tagged with keyword "reference-to-jo-jo-dancer"". IMDb.

External links[edit]