Creator: Rodney Dangerfield
"I tell ya, when I was a kid I had it rough.
Once on my birthday, my old man gave me a bat.
The first day I played with it, it flew away".
"I mean it's not easy bein' me!
Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Rodney Cohen, November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004) was an American stand-up comedian and actor, known for his catchphrase
“I don’t get no respect!” and his monologues on that theme.
Dangerfield was born Jacob Rodney Cohen in Babylon, New York on November 22, 1921 to Hungarian Jewish parents. In the early 1940’s, he began performing standup under the name of “Jack Roy.” However, he wasn’t very successful and he ended up quitting. He later joked about this by saying “At the time I quit, I was the only one who knew I quit!"
Then, in 1967, when The Ed Sullivan Show
needed a last minute replacement for another act, Jacob (now known at this point as Rodney Dangerfield) was the surprise hit.
Dangerfield’s career peak was in the 1970’s and 1980’s. During this time, he made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show
with Johnny Carson and The Dean Martin Show, and starred in several successful films, such as Caddyshack
, Easy Money
and Back to School
. He also released a few successful comedy albums, such as “I Don’t Get No Respect” “Rappin’ Rodney”, and “No Respect” the latter which won a Grammy Award
. In 1969, he built a nightclub in New York City, which he would be the venue for several HBO
specials, which would showcase talents like Jim Carrey
, Jerry Seinfeld
, Andrew "Dice" Clay
, and Sam Kinison
Dangerfield continued to perform both on stage and in movies through the 1990’s and the early 2000’s. He died on October 5, 2004 from complications of heart value replacement surgery he had undergone the previous August, he was 82 years old. Behind him, Dangerfield left quite a legacy.
In 2004, Dangerfield was ranked seventh on Comedy Central
’s list of the 100 Greatest Standup Comedians.
- What’s in a Name?/The Loser (1966/1977)
- I Don’t Get No Respect (1980)
- No Respect (1980)
- Rappin’ Rodney (1983)
- La Contessa (1995)
- Romeo Rodney (2005)
Rodney Dangerfield gets respect in these tropes:
- Ambiguous Syntax: One of his most well-known jokes:
Rodney: I tell you, my wife, she never went through. Now, the first time I called her up, she told me to come on over, there's nobody home. I went over, there was nobody home!
- Awful Wedded Life: One of his main subjects.
- Catch Phrase: "I don’t get no respect!"
- He opens each show with "I'm all right now, but last week I was in rough shape...", and proceeds to say why.
- "You know my doctor, Dr. Vinnie Boombautz!"
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Based his career on this theme, and even adopted a variation of it as his personal motto.
- Famous Last Words: Upon heading into a heart surgery that he ended up not surviving after some time in a coma: "If everything goes well, I'll be out in a couple months. If not, a couple minutes."
- Funny Character, Boring Actor: His wife was always somewhat annoyed that people assumed her husband was a wacky, boorish slob all the time. In real life, he was a shy, well-mannered gentleman.
- Grave Humor: His epitaph is "There goes the neighborhood."
- Iconic Outfit: When performing stand up, he usually wore a suit with a white shirt and a red necktie.
- Sad Clown: His childhood really was lousy and he struggled with depression all in his life, turning his genuine self-hatred into comedy.
My whole life is pressure. This pressure is like a heaviness. Always on top of me, this heaviness, since I'm a kid. Other people wake up in the morning, ‘Ah, a new day! Up and at ’em!’ I wake up, the heaviness is right there waiting for me nice. Sometimes I even talk to it. I say ‘Hi, heaviness!’ and the heaviness looks back at me, ‘Today you’re gonna get it good, you know. You’ll be drinking early today.’
- Self-Deprecation: He was the patron saint of this trope, he made a career off of the idea.
- Take That: His acts where loaded with jokes that ran on this idea.
- Too Dumb to Live: “I tried marijuana once. Just once. I didn't know what I was doing...I was on cocaine.”
- Unpopular Popular Character: His characters in the movies that he appeared in tend not to be well liked by other characters, but they are extremely popular in the real world. The most notable example being his character of Al Czervik from Caddyshack.