Three generations of legendary comedians made their first and only appearance together in 1989’s gangster comedy, Harlem Nights.
Redd Foxx built his legend recording X-rated underground comedy albums and cutting his teeth as a successful stand-up comic before his long television career. The undisputed King of Comedy, Richard Pryor changed the game for stand-up comedians and enjoyed a successful film career, as well. Murphy wrote, and directed the film (He was nominated for Worst Director at the 10th Golden Raspberry Awards, his only directorial effort; the film “won” Worst Screenplay) and served as an executive producer.
Murphy had always wanted to direct and star in a period piece, as well as work with Pryor, whom he considered his greatest influence in stand-up comedy. Although Harlem Nights was a critical failure, it was a financial success, grossing 3½ times the amount it cost to make it (worldwide); it is well known for starring three generations of Black-American comedians (Foxx, Pryor and Murphy).