“Richard Pryor was chain lightning to everything around him. He shocked the world through with human electricity. He blew all our comfortable balance to hell. And Furious Cool captures it brilliantly.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
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 during his life, Pryor’s performances opened up a whole new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn’t just new—it was theretofore unthinkable.
Now, in this groundbreaking and revelatory work, Joe and David Henry bring him alive again 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 myriad influences that shaped both his persona and his art.
“Brothers David and Joe Henry have brought Richard Pryor back to pulsating life, affirming both his humanity and his immortality as a comic–and tragic–genius.” —The Huffington Post
“A sleek, highly literate biography that places the comic in the pop-cultural context of his times.” —Bloomberg News
“It would be enough if Furious Cool was a profile of Pryor’s uncanny talents, psychic turmoil, and ungovernable behavior, but it’s also a fascinating history of black comedy . . . Furious Cool captures Pryor’s frenetic routines and stage presence on the page . . . The inextricable legacy of Richard Pryor—his boldness, inventiveness, candor, and empathy—lives on.” —Los Angeles Magazine
“An addictively readable study of the path of this outsized talent . . . Someday, when fewer people know Richard Pryor’s name, Furious Cool will be the best defense against the worst sort of forgetting–the kind that involves who we are now, who we loved once, and why.” —Esquire