A blog for Joe Henry fans

zaterdag 12 april 2014

Furious cool : Reviews

The Irish Times.
David and Joe Henry make plain their love for their subject without ever drifting into hagiography. The result is an intelligent and beautifully written book, which is full of heart and which rescues Pryor’s legend from the unfortunate, fat Elvis period of his later movie career. It sent this reviewer scouring the house for an old DVD copy of Richard Pryor: Live in Concert to enjoy again the man in all his heartbreaking, broken brilliance.


"We didn't set out to write the definitive cradle-to-grave biography of Richard Pryor," say the Henry Brothers, "We chose to go exploring, mine the soil out of which he grew . . ." Despite the Cultural Studies disclaimer, the authors — brothers, one a screenwriter, the other a musician — have fashioned Pryor's unruly tale into a coherent narrative with a lot of respect to the context. They investigate the story that Pryor's grandfather got crushed between railroad cars in 1925, and they interview natives of Pryor's unlikely hometown — Peoria, Illinois, for God's sake — demonstrating along the way how inappropriate a simplistic documentarian approach would be for such a contradictory, profane-yet-profound figure. Or let's say curious fool.


The creative slump was perhaps inevitable, and Pryor’s decline into unwatchable movies is acknowledged, though not dwelt upon, in the book, as the Henrys seek to polish his professional reputation, not tarnish it, even while acknowledging his deep failings as a decent human being.

Their passion provokes in the reader a renewed admiration for such groundbreaking work, and if anyone who knew Pryor more for Superman III than his comedy seeks out his stand-up after reading their book, their job will be done.

the spectator

"every page carries something either appalling or amusing — Furious Cool is an energetic contribution to the written history of stand-up comedy."

Laphams Quarterly podcast
(an interview with Joe and David Hery)

theprojectroom podcast
(an interview with Joe and David Hery)

It’s a must read for any Pryor fan and may create plenty of new ones who will watch any Pryor DVDs or movies they can find.

Find more reviews on God is in the details' review page

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