On June 9, 1980, in one of the decade's more bizarre celebrity-related events, Pryor was discovered running through the streets of Northridge California on fire. He was eventually caught and taken to the hospital by police where it is said he suffered burns on more than half his body. Initially nobody knew what to make of the incident but it wasn't too long before the facts began to emerge and paint a picture of a man who, in a fit of freebase-induced psychosis, had poured flaming 151 rum over himself then fled into the streets in panic.
Pryor spent six weeks recovering at the Grossman Burn Center and when finally well enough to resume his career didn't shy away from the incident. On the contrary in typical Richard Pryor fashion he faced it head on making frequent reference to it first in his standup routine and later in the movie "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling" a fictionalized account of the incident and its aftermath.