He Gets My Respect
Kevin Salwen on Culture
Rodney Dangerfield died tonight at the age of 82. I loved his sense of humor; his 'no respect' schtick was wonderfully self-depreciating, accompanied by that trademark tug of his tie and twist of his neck. His humility act offered a marvelous antidote to the ego-driven celebrities of our age. 'My wife made me join a bridge club,' he joked. 'I jump off next Tuesday.'
The characteristic less highlighted in Dangerfield's life was his desire to pursue his passion. He started as a comic and singing waiter named Jack Roy in the 'Borscht Belt' in the Catskills; when he couldn't make enough money, he quit in the 1950s to become a house painter and aluminum-siding salesman. But he missed showbiz and a decade later fought his way back as a nightclub owner and comic named Rodney Dangerfield. Over many years, his success grew, and his comedy club helped propel the careers of Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Allen.
Rodney Dangerfield was a funny man to the end. When asked how long he would be in the hospital after an operation to replace a heart value, Dangerfield quipped, 'If things go right, I'll be there about a week, and if things don't go right, I'll be there about an hour and a half!' He died shortly afterward.
Funny man. Passionate person. Goodbye Rodney.