An American comic icon tells the story of his secondâ€“act rise from obscurity to multimedia stardom.
"When I was a kid," writes Rodney Dangerfield, "I worked tough places in show businessâ€“â€“places like Fonzo's Knuckle Room. Or Aldo's, formerly Vito's, formerly Nunzio's. That was a tough joint. I looked at the menu. They had broken leg of lamb." For once, one of America's most beloved comic icons isn't kidding. Dangerfield has seen every aspect of the entertainment industry: the roughâ€“andâ€“tumble nightclubs, the backstage gagâ€“writing sessions, the drugs, the hookers, the lousy day jobs â€“ and the redâ€“carpet star treatment. As he traces his route from a poor childhood on Long Island to his enshrinement as a comedy legend, he takes readers on a rollerâ€“coaster ride through a life that has been alternately touching, sordid, funny, raunchy, and uplifting â€“ equal parts "Little Orphan Annie" and "Caligula." And unlike most celebrity autobiographers, he seems to have no qualms about delivering the unfiltered whole story, warts and all.
Dangerfield's personal story is also a rollicking show business tale, full of marquee nameâ€“droppings (Adam Sandler, Sam Kinison, Jim Carrey, Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld) and good stories about same. Defying the old saws about the fleeting nature of fame and the dearth of second acts in American life, Dangerfield transformed himself from a debtâ€“ridden aluminiumâ€“siding salesman named Jack Roy to a multimedia superstar â€“ and stayed an icon for decades. His catchphrase â€“ "I get no respect" â€“ has entered the lexicon, and he remains a visible cultural presence and perennial talkâ€“show guest.
Dangerfield's hilarious and inspiring musings should thrill comedy fans and popâ€“culture watchers, and his secondâ€“act comeback will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Maybe he'll even get some respect.