Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and The World That Made Himby David Henry, Joe Henry, Dion Graham (Narrated by)
Richard Pryor was arguably the single most influential performer of the second half of the twentieth century,and certainly he was the most successful black actor/comedian ever. Controversial and somewhat enigmatic in his lifetime, Pryor's performances opened up a new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn't just new-it was heretofore unthinkable. His childhood in Peoria, Illinois, was spent just trying to survive. Yet the culture into which Richard Pryor was born-his mother was a prostitute; his grandmother ran the whorehouse-helped him evolve into one of the most innovative and outspoken performers ever, a man who attracted admiration and anger in equal parts. Both a brilliant comedian and a very astute judge of what he could get away with, Pryor was always pushing the envelope, combining anger and pathos, outrage and humor, into an art form, laying the groundwork for the generations of comedians who followed, including such outstanding performers as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K. Now, in this groundbreaking and revelatory work, David and Joe Henry bring him to life both as a man and as an artist, providing an in-depth appreciation of his talent and his lasting influence, as well as an insightful examination of the world he lived in and the influences that shaped both his persona and his art.
The Henry brothers cover the life of Richard Pryor from his childhood in a flophouse to his final days in a mansion. Focusing mostly on his comedic genius of the 1960s and 1970s, the authors trace his progress, his set-backs, his influences, and his more extreme mishaps. Cumulatively, they show both the greatness and limitations of Pryor and his lasting impact on comedy and culture. Narrator Graham provides an standout, moving performance. His deep and projective voice commands listener attention and guides them through the highs to the lows of Pryor’s life. Graham also nails the emotional tension of the book, and provides solid voices for the different people quoted throughout the book. However, most of Graham’s impressions of Prior are so perfect that listeners may wonder whether they are listening to Graham or Pryor. This blend of narration with impersonation makes the audiobook successful. An Algonquin hardcover. (Nov.)
This fascinating and comprehensive biography of actor and comedian Richard Pryor (1940–2005) traces life from his troubled childhood in a brothel in Peoria, IL, through his rise to fame, struggles with addiction, and ultimate decline. In their first book, brothers David and Joe Henry revere Pryor's genius but pull no punches when describing his demons and later output. This moving work captures all the pain and triumph of Pryor's remarkable life. The audio treatment may be better than the printed edition thanks to the excellent narration by Dion Graham, who delivers the excerpts from Pryor's material with flawless comic timing. VERDICT Strongly recommended to anyone interested in Richard Pryor. ["More a compilation of assiduous research than a narrative—with irreverent profanity that echoes Pryor's performances—this book should succeed in introducing a legend to new generations," read the review of the Algonquin hc, LJ 9/1/13; see the Q&A with the authors, p. 44.]—Mark John Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll., Overland Park, KS
- Tantor Media, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Library - Unabridged CD
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Meet the Author
David Henry is a screenwriter. He is coauthor, with his brother Joe, of Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him.
Joe Henry is a songwriter, singer, and music producer. He is coauthor, with his brother David, of Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him.
Dion Graham, from HBO's The Wire, is a multiple Audie Award-winning narrator and critically acclaimed actor. His performances have been praised as thoughtful and compelling, vivid, and full of life.
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An absolutely brilliant look into the life and career of comic great Richard Pryor!
Title: Richard Pryor And The World That Made Him Author: David Henry and Joe Henry Publisher: Algonquin Books Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Review: "Richard Pryor And The World That Made Him" by David Henry & Joe Henry Book Description.... "No one who saw Richard Pryor alone on stage with nothing but a microphone in his hand could have doubted that here was a man possessed of genius. But few have any sense of the strange, violent, and colorful landscape from which he emerged. His childhood in Peoria, Illinois, was spent just trying to survive. Yet the culture into which he was born—his mother was a prostitute; his grandmother ran the whorehouse—helped shaped him into one of the most influential and outstanding performers of our time. Pryor attracted admiration and anger in equal parts. He was a comedian who many consider the greatest ever, yet his triumphant stand-up work has been largely eclipsed by his mediocre movie output. His personal life was likewise something of a contradiction, because Pryor was a man of deep intelligence and sensitivity yet was also someone who could never seem to make the pieces of his life come together to create a whole. His was a fascinating, larger-than-life personality; he was as pivotal and essential a figure as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, or Muhammad Ali. Pryor the solo artist brought to a pop-obsessed generation the news that they had a past with deep roots that spoke to our shared humanity. Through David and Joe Henry, Richard Pryor speaks to us still." What I like about this novel..... I found this novel very interesting. Yes, I was one who watch some of Mr.. Pryor's movies. I especially love watching with my sons the one called 'Moving.' I never laughed so hard in my life...oh well let's get to my thoughts on the novel where after reading this novel I found is story rather a sad one. The authors however did give the reader a well written script of Mr. Pryor's life that gives a thoughtful look at this person, his relationships, his work and his internal struggles. Yes, even with all that was on Mr. Pryor was one of the greatest stand up artist. I thought the read was good and very informative read of Mr. Pryor, who was a 'standup comedy, pop and social cultures during the years of 1960 and 70's, and historian of those turbulent decades.' If you are a fan of Mr. Pryor, this read would be of interest to you and I would definitely recommend this to you.
Using different parameters on what stuff great comedians or entertainers are made of, Richard Pryor comes out as my best, most cryptic and most natural comedian of them all. The author did a good job of bringing out his best and his worst, his creative ingenuity and his self-destructive side, as well as so many of the inner contradictions that haunt variously gifted people. Identifying traits or characters of him in other people in real life or in fiction helped me to understand him better. Like in some of the characters in The Usurper and Other Stories, he lived his life obeying his instincts, never reining in his impulses and being himself, whatever that is, at a given time.