Friday, October 8, 2004
So Rodney Dangerfield's movies weren't exactly going to give Brando a run for his money. There was that unforgettably dark turn as a sitcom dad from hell in Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers." And "Caddyshack" and "Back to School" had their share of laughs. But most of the time, he was doing roles like, well, Lucifer in Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky."
But it's not as an actor we should remember Rodney, who died in Los Angeles this week. It's for those great one-liners, coming from the comedian who looked as though he'd perspire into a puddle, as he yanked feverishly at his tie, eyes bigger than rutabagas. His big lament? "No respect." From anyone.
"I went to see my doctor," he said. "I said, 'Doctor, every morning I get up and look in the mirror, I feel like throwing up. What's wrong with me?' He said, 'I don't know, but your eyesight is perfect.' "
He came home early from work one time. Saw a man jogging past, completely naked. "I said to the guy, 'Why are you doing that?' He said, 'Because you came home early.' " "My uncle's dying wish," Rodney told us, "was to have me sitting in his lap. He was in the electric chair."
Even as a kid, he got no -- you know.
"I was such an ugly baby," he claimed, "my mother never breast-fed me. She told me she only liked me as a friend."
"I remember the time I was kidnapped," he'd say. "And they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof."
It never stopped, this terrible childhood. His bath toys? A toaster and a radio. And then there was the time his parents were missing, and an anguished Rodney asked a policeman for help.
"I said to him, 'Do you think we'll ever find them?' He said, 'I don't know, kid. There are so many places they can hide.' " No hiding from our loss. But Rodney, you got our respect.