Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Authors: Pat Cooper, Rich Herschlag, Steve Garrin
Publisher: Square One Publishers
ISBN-10: 075700363X: ISBN-13: 978-0757003639
One reason comic Pat Cooper isn’t quite a household name is that he’s been an odd man out most of his life. Born Pasquale Caputo in 1929, he grew up in a gruff Italian family in Brooklyn where Cooper didn’t get much love—or even much acknowledgment that he existed. When he became an entertainer, the toughness and anger planted in Brooklyn became the focus of his act, an act fueled by what Cooper saw in the world around him. For decades, it’s been a world of being a working professional when the odds were against him, a world of show business performers and insiders who were friends, pseudo-friends, or those quick to stab their friends in the back . . . or, at least, this is the world Cooper perceives.
This isn’t to say Cooper’s very readable memoir, How Dare You Say How Dare me is a bitter rant against all the slings and arrows he has faced on and off stage. Sure, his reputation has always been as a no-holds-barred comedian who both threw and took his punches, a man who stuck to his own rules, a man whose Number One comic target was hypocrisy. But he’s also a man eager to lavish praise on the best talent he’s known, and he’s known the best—Frank Sinatra, Jerry Seinfeld, Don Rickles, Tony Bennet, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, and many lesser-known names who, in his opinion, should either be bigger stars or deserved their oblivion. He’s equally as frank—although frank is too mild a term—with his own screw-ups, wrong turns, and the results of his well-known stubbornness.
How Dare You begins with Cooper remembering his childhood and the book keeps to a chronological flow until his career takes off when he is booked as a guest on the Jackie Gleason show in 1963. Back then, audiences still thought he was Jewish as Italians were known as singers, not comics. From that point forward, his chapters are bundled stories and anecdotes unified by various themes—working on stage, on television, on film, interactions with partners and colleagues or dealings with the behind-the-scenes personalities in the entertainment business, and a very rough and tumble business it was. He knew the highest highs—performing at Carnegie Hall—and the lowest lows, and he believes a pro has to endure them all. In between the stories, laced with comic wordplay and punch lines, are transcriptions of Cooper’s on-air conversations with the likes of Tom Snyder and especially Howard Stern, on whose radio show Cooper was a frequent guest and where he battled his own family live on the air. He talks about turning down a bit part in a Martin Scorsese audio interview with author Charles Fox for the “Dave White Presents” radio program is posted at: film, flying 6,000 miles to Hawaii for a two-minute appearance on the Don Ho show, sparring with wiseguys, and his self-inflicted unwise investments with his money and heart.
So How Dare You is a book chockfull of laughs and the reasons comics use sadness to create their routines. You don’t have to love—or hate—or even know who Pat Cooper is to enjoy this insightful look into popular entertainment. Readers interested in comics of the old-school, nightclub shows, performing on both small and large stages, films like Analyze This, will find this one a page-turner. If you have aspirations of being a performer yourself, here’s an essential textbook. And if you still don’t know who Pat Cooper is—here’s your ticket.
Click Here To Purchase Pat Cooper How Dare You Say How Dare Me!
Listen To Dr. Wes Britton's audio interview with author Charles Fox for the “Dave White Presents” radio program posted HERE: