It’s been a good year for Mike Epps. After years (and years, and years) of waiting in limbo to see if he’d ever be able to play Richard Pryor, his dream role, Epps was confirmed as the star of Lee Daniels‘ insanely anticipated Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, which is written by Bill Condon and features a stunning line-up of co-stars including Eddie Murphy as Pryor’s infamous, brothel-running father, LeRoy “Buck” Pryor, and Tracy Morgan as Pryor’s colleague and friend Red Foxx. Kate Hudson and Oprah Winfrey are also set in supporting roles as Pryor’s wife and grandmother, respectively. It’s currently in pre-production and could be the movie of the year if it’s finished and ready for screening by fall 2016. And in a strange coincidence, Epps will also portray Pryor in Nina, the upcoming biopic of Nina Simone starring Zoe Saldana.
More immediately, however, Epps is preparing for the release of his latest stand-up special, Don’t Take It Personally, which will debut on Netflix on December 18th. The first trailer for the special, which you can take a look at below, highlights Epps familiarly brash and lithe stage show, moving up and down the stage with big strides and delivering sharp observational jokes about smoking weed, being a stepfather, and his youth. Not entirely surprisingly, the material is reminiscent of the stuff one could find in Murphy’s classic Raw or any single one of Pryor’s famed concert films, but shaped by Epps’ distinct delivery and comic style. It should serve as a great rev-up to what might be a huge 2016 for Epps. Amongst other comedy projects, he will also appear in Nat Turner: Story of a Prophet, the latest film from the great Bill Duke, who directed two of the most underrated crime films of the 1990s: Deep Cover and A Rage in Harlem. The subject of Duke’s latest, however, speaks to Epps role in a myriad of modern projects pressing viewers to take a clearer look at the history of African Americans in America. For now, however, enjoy some yucks.