FOREWORD BY JERRY LEWIS
Praise for Pat Cooper:
"He's the comedian's comedian. I think."—Jerry Seinfeld
"I'm one of his biggest fans."—Jerry Lewis
"He's a great actor-comedian—but I'm not sure which one."—Robert De Niro
"One of the funniest men on the planet . . . Venus."—Jason Alexander
"I've never met a funnier man. Sure I have—it's me!"—Billy Crystal
Few comics today can say they have worked with the likes of George Burns, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Bobby Darin—but Pat Cooper can. Born Pasquale Caputo, the legendary comedian didn’t appear on the show business radar until age thirty-two. But from that moment in 1963, when the young smart-mouthed Brooklynite was beamed into millions of homes via the Jackie Gleason Show, people throughout the country knew that they were watching something special. His brash, irreverent, and undeniably hilarious views of what is happening around him have always been honest, unyielding, and colored by his “comedic anger.” And now, in How Dare You Say How Dare Me!, he shares the amazing, offbeat story of his life.
In his unique no-holds-barred style, Cooper begins his story at the beginning—as a child growing up under the strict hand of Italian immigrant parents. He shares memorable, typically comical moments from his youth, including the loss of his virginity to a middle-aged yenta, and his efforts to join the military at age seventeen—only to be kicked out for having hammerhead toes! A seventh-generation bricklayer by trade, Pat recounts performing his stand-up routine in small clubs and theaters at night—until he got his big break into the big time. From that point on, Pat pulls no punches in relating story after story of his life as a top entertainer, including the good, the bad, and the side-splitting! From Las Vegas to Atlantic City and everywhere in between, it’s all here.
Every bit as brash, irreverent, and hilarious as ever, Pat Cooper proves in this very frank memoir that one can succeed in show business without being phony—just as long as you learn to duck, and you’re not too surprised when you’re fired. (Hey, one door closes and another opens.) Like any time spent with this comic genius in person, How Dare You Say How Dare Me! will leave you roaring!
Foreword by Jerry Lewis, xiii
1. The Battle of Brooklyn, 1
2. Powderhead, 15
3. Crawling with Aunts, 29
4. And Away We Go, 41
5. The Chosen Comics, 59
6. Opening for Legends and Opening My Mouth, 75
7. This Thing of Theirs—Part I, 97
8. This Thing of Theirs—Part II, 113
9. No Patsy, 127
10. Gourmet Sucks, 149
11. The Yankee Franchi, 163
12. Better Pissed Off than Pissed On, 177
13. Raging Bullshit, 189
14. Private Darts, 205
15. Deaf Comedy, 227
16. Break a Legacy, 241
For as many years as I can recall, a comic called a “comedian’s comedian” was nice, but didn’t always fit. This is certainly not the case with Pat Cooper, simply because he has this fantastic capacity to challenge the art form, and has done so with an exquisite approach to the human condition. I’ve seen Pat demolish pomposity and snobbery and take it to the level of excellence known as “down and dirty” comedy. He was and still is one of the funniest men working in our industry today. I’d love some of today’s younger comics to watch and learn from Pat Cooper—a true master of comedy. Go ahead—read his book and see if I’m right.
I’m quite proud of being a small part of this exciting time for Pat.