Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.
Authors: Cooper, Pat; as told to Rich Herschlag and Steve Garrin
Publisher: Square One Publishers
Pat Cooper’s sensitivity and insightfulness shine out from behind his ostensibly brash and offensive style in this memoir of six decades and more in show business. As he says, “When I’m standing in front of a microphone, I may seem angry, but I’m not in a hate mode. I’m angry because of the sadness. There’s so much of it, and most of it is what we do to each other. When I’m ranting and raving up there, I’m releasing sadness. I’m saying that if we talk about it—or yell about it—maybe we can turn that sadness into laughter.”
Just as with the great Lenny Bruce, Pat Cooper’s presentation may initially strike one as acerbic and overly in your face, but Cooper has strength and vision that go far beyond his rapid-fire answers and his smart aleck “Don’t try to put me down, ’cos I’ll put you down first.” His snappy rejoinders are legendary, and, yes, he doesn’t hide the uglier side of either family life or show business. That he has deep feelings, and that he has often been hurt, most notably by the ingratitude of those who should have known better, including members of his own family, is clear. But he’s no whiner, and fights back to his last monosyllable. Guts? Cooper has plenty of them, and they sometimes do spill. But he’s also a survivor, and I admire him greatly.
In How Dare You Say How Dare Me!, Cooper shares both the ups and downs of being an Italian comedian in a profession in which he was often thought to be Jewish. Having to mask his identity with a name change from Pasquale Caputo was one of the least of his problems. Surviving life surrounded by the Mafiosi seems sometimes to have been a greater challenge, not that many such were not close to him—the family connections come with the territory! His memoir reads a bit like a Who’s Who of Show Business since the mid-20th century: Tony Martin, George Burns, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, Anthony Quinn and Robert De Niro being but some of those with whom he worked.
The great Jerry Lewis, in his brief foreword to this raconteur’s dream of an autobiography, sums up Cooper’s talent in the following words: “he has this fantastic capacity to challenge the art form [of comedy], and has done so with an exquisite approach to the human condition.” What makes this memoir stand out, though, is its raw honesty. Cooper never minces his words and sure ain’t no patsy, although, on occasion, his kindness and generosity have been taken advantage of. For those who aren’t shy of reading a gut-wrenching biography that pulls none of its punches, try How Dare You Say How Dare Me! Believe me, you won’t be sorry.
Click Here To Purchase Pat Cooper How Dare You Say How Dare Me!