An American comic icon tells the story of his second–act rise from obscurity to multimedia stardom.
"When I was a kid," writes Rodney Dangerfield, "I worked tough places in show business––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 rough–and–tumble nightclubs, the backstage gag–writing sessions, the drugs, the hookers, the lousy day jobs – and the red–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 roller–coaster ride through a life that has been alternately touching, sordid, funny, raunchy, and uplifting – 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 name–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 debt–ridden aluminium–siding salesman named Jack Roy to a multimedia superstar – and stayed an icon for decades. His catchphrase – "I get no respect" – has entered the lexicon, and he remains a visible cultural presence and perennial talk–show guest.
Dangerfield's hilarious and inspiring musings should thrill comedy fans and pop–culture watchers, and his second–act comeback will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Maybe he'll even get some respect.
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About the Author
1921년 미국 뉴욕 롱아일랜드에서 태어났다. 18세부터 스탠드업 코미디언으로 성공하려고 고전하다가 생계가 곤란해서 28세에 연예계를 떠났다. 12년을 주택 외장재 외판원으로 일하다가 46세에 연예계에 복귀해서 거의 40년간 정상에 섰다. 미국 토크쇼 '에드 설리번 쇼'에 16회, '투나잇 쇼'에 70회 출연했다. 뉴욕에 코미디 클럽 '데인저필드'를 세우고 자기 클럽에서 HBO 코미디 스페셜을 제작했다. 코미디언 짐 캐리를 비롯한 싹수 있는 후배를 많이 키웠다. 65세에 주연을 맡은 코미디 영화 'Back to School'은 1천억 원에 가까운 흥행수입을 올리기도 했다. 2004년, 83세에 사망했다.
Read an Excerpt
It's Not Easy Bein' Me
A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs
I Was A Male Hooker ...
Most kids never live up
to their baby picture
Roy and Arthur was a vaudeville comedy team. Roy was my father; Arthur was my uncle Bunk. On November 22, 1921, after their last show that night in Philadelphia, Phil Roy got a call backstage, where he was told, "It's a boy!"
My father drove that night from Philadelphia to Babylon, Long Island, to greet his new son, Jacob Cohen. Me. (My father's real name was Philip Cohen; his stage name was Phil Roy.)
I was born in an eighteen-room house owned by in mother's sister Rose and her husband. After a couple of weeks my mother took me back to her place in Jamaica, Queens where we lived with my four-year-old sister, Marion, my mother's mother, my mother's other three sisters -- Esther, Peggy, and Pearlie -- her brother Joe, and a Swedish carpenter named Mack, who Esther later married. The whole family had come to America from Hungary when my mother was four. My mother's father -- my grandfather -- was almost never referred to in that house. Rumor has it he's still in Hungary -- and still drinking. My dad wasn't around much, either. I found out much later that he was a ladies' man. Dad had no time for his kids -- he was always out trying to make new kids. I was born on my father's birthday. It didn't mean a fucking thing. His first wife was a southern girl. It was literally a shotgun wedding -- and the marriage lasted until my father went back on the road with his vaudeville act.
I was an ugly kid. When I was born, after
the doctor cut the cord, he hung himself.
My mother was my dad's second wife. She was pregnant with my older sister, Marion, so Dad did the honorable thing.
I feel awkward referring to my father as "Dad." When you hear that word, you picture a man who looks forward to spending time with his family, a man who takes his son camping or to a ball game every once in a while. My father and I did none of those things. He didn't live with us. Show business kept him on the road practically all the time -- or was it my mother?
When my father wasn't on the road, he'd stay in New York City. About every six months, I'd take the train from Kew Gardens into New York to see him. We'd walk around for an hour and talk -- not that we ever had much to say to each other -- then he'd walk me back to the subway and give me some change. I'd say, "Thank you," and then take the subway back home.
I figured out that during my entire childhood, my father saw me for two hours a year.
In my life I've been through plenty. When
I was three years old, my parents got a dog. I
was jealous of the dog, so they got rid of me.
Although I didn't realize it at the time, my childhood was rather odd. I was raised by my mother, who ran a very cold household. I never got a kiss, a hug, or a compliment. My mother wouldn't even tuck me in, and forget about kissing me good night. On my birthdays, I never got a present, a card, nothing.
I guess that's why I went into show business -- to get some love. I wanted people to tell me I was good, tell me I'm okay. Let me hear the laughs, the applause. I'll take love any way I can get it.
When I was three years old, I witnessed my first act of violence. I walked into the living room and saw my mother lying on the couch, being beaten by her four sisters. My mother was kicking and screaming.
"Get Joe!" She yelled, "Get Joe!"
I did what my mother told me. I ran up two flights of stairs and started pulling on her brother Joe to wake him up. I kept repeating, "Uncle Joe, downstairs! Downstairs!" He came down and broke it up.
What a childhood I had. Once on my
birthday my old man gave me a bat. The first
day I played with it, it flew away.
From the time I was four years old, I had to make my own entertainment. There was a parking lot next to our three-story building that was always vacant after dark. Every night I would hear voices below my window, and I knew what that meant -- there was going to be a fight. This is where the local tough guys would come to settle their beefs.
From my windowsill, I had the best seat in the house ...It's Not Easy Bein' Me
A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs. Copyright © by Rodney Dangerfield. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
|Chapter 1||I Was a Male Hooker||3|
|Chapter 2||How Can I Get a Job Like That?||29|
|Chapter 3||Plans for Conquering the World||43|
|Chapter 4||Very Naked from the Waist Up||49|
|Chapter 5||I Needed $3,000 to Get Out of Jail||63|
|Chapter 6||Why Didn't You Tell Me You Were Funny?||77|
|Chapter 7||Some Show Business on the Side||91|
|Chapter 8||I Am Not High!||111|
|Chapter 9||Can I Have Your Autograph and More Butter?||125|
|Chapter 10||Let the Good Times Roll||137|
|Chapter 11||A Night with Lenny Bruce||155|
|Chapter 12||Stuck in a Bag of Mixed Nuts||191|
|Chapter 13||I'm Not Going!||213|
|Chapter 14||Three Lucky Breaks||225|
|Chapter 15||Turkeys in Wheelchairs||237|
|Chapter 16||My Heart Started Doing Somersaults||245|
|Chapter 17||End of the Line||257|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Not particularly well written, but very interesting life story and of course some very humorous parts. He really didn¿t get much respect until he was in his late forties. Over 70 appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and many on the Ed Sullivan Show really helped his career. He was very helpful in enhancing the careers of many young comedians who eventually became very famous.
Really was suprised. Rodney had a very interesting life, when he was young he was unloved by his mother and that lead to a lot of the character he was as he was older. Good read
You don't no if he is telling a story or making a joke. As I read its like his voice in my head doing stand up. Save your money ( only 140 pages) and watch his bio on Tv.
This book was very well written and funny ! I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book. All I could see was Rodney making his funny faces and gestures while reliving his stories in the book. I have heard many of his jokes and was surprised that there were different jokes in the book i had never heard. If you like Rodney's one liners you will love this book. I give it 5 stars ! Now one of my all time favorite books.
This was a good story but I wish it was more chronological. He jumped around from decade to decade. I would like to know why he did not serve in the military during WWII.
I LOVE Rodney Dangerfield! I Loved his humor way back in the 60s and 70s. I bought this book thinking that I'd be getting good comedy. Yes - there are lots of jokes in it. There's also a lot of misery history. It seems (to me) more like a book to expose all the bad things that happened to Rodney during his life and who is responsible for it. There were a few times when I had to stop reading at times until I could stop laughing and see again (just a few of these). I read this book in one sitting - but this went surprisingly fast. Again - I love Rodney. But I feel that my $30 could have been better spent. If you want Danderfield humor, go buy or rent one of his flicks. Heck - for $30 you can buy a boatload of his DVDs. Many more laughs and lots less 'my life was SOOO bad'. And no - I don't mean 'I get no respect' type stuff.
Wow! I read this book in 2 sittings. Of all the made for TV movies I have seen this has to become one of them. If you thought you knew Rodney ...you don't. This book falls into my top 5 favorite memoirs. By any means possible pick up a copy.
A truly amazing book. I never realized that a comedian could write a book so well. He worked so hard to achieve his lifetime of respect and now, he's given the public the chance to read and learn to respect him more than ever now. A truly respectful book by a truly respected comedian. People will read this book and say, 'I respect him' and I respect him.
This book is a must for all fans of Rodney. Whether you're in Show Biz or sitting behind a desk this book is hard to put down. A word to the wise: Don't read it while in bed with your significant other. Several times I had outbursts of laughter while reading this book that woke up my less than amused girlfriend. Great book!
And deliver he does in this honest, candid, humorous, poignant and sometimes bittersweet telling of his life. Rodney recounts his days growing up poor, sharing intimate episodes of shock and disappointment, as well as his struggles as an aspiring comic. He cleverly threads the various chapters of his life with his jokes and one-liners (you then understand how these jokes may have come about)!....This is not just a celebrity autobiography, but more a fascinating tale about an extraordinary man who has lived a difficult, colorful life, who has waged war with his demons(perhaps still does), who has befriended some of show business's most famous stars, and was able to literally 'get his act together' to achieve one of show business's most legendary careers. The book is an entertaining, riveting and breezy read from beginning to end. Readers will come away with a unique understanding of the larger-than-life Rodney Dangerfield, why he ticks the way he does and why he has become the man he is. Besides his legions of fans, this book is also a must-have for anyone who has ever thought about being a stand-up comic. A great summer read and deserving of a whole lot of 'respect!'
I truly loved this book! So it's not a biography of Churchill or Ben Franklin, but it is a fun read of one of America's best comedians. He has seen it all and done it all. It is nice to see that during his twilight years he has finally achieved real happiness. If you are a fan take the time to read this autobiography. You will not be disappointed.