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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Stand-Up > TV > Cable TV > Rodney Dangerfield - The Ultimate No Respect Collection

Rodney Dangerfield – No Respect: The Ultimate Collection


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Programs: B



Of all the stand-up comedians of the last half of the 20th Century, there were many good ones, but only rivaled by Lenny Bruce, no one could outdo Rodney Dangerfield.  In his time, outlasting all of his peers and outdoing new talent two to three times younger, Dangerfield became the master of self-deprecating humor.  The shows over the three DVDs are as follows:


It’s Not Easy Being Me (1981) features Valerie Perrine spoofing her work in the 1978 Superman and Bill Murray in several roles, including as Nick The Lounge Singer. 


I Can’t Take It Anymore (1983) not only has Dangerfield doing his wacky hit Rappin’ Rodney as a big production number, but a Flashdance spoof called Flashpants.  Dangerfield was one of the first white “artists” after Blondie to release a Rap song, and he was still better than Vanilla Ice.  Robert Urich, Angie Dickinson, Harold Ramis, Donna Dixon and Andy Kaufmann appear, with Kaufmann as Dangerfield’s legendary Dr. Vinnie Boombaats.


Exposed (1984) offers guest stars Dick Butkus, Bubby Smith, Harvey Korman and Morgan Fairchild and is the oddest of the three on DVD 1.  This is the least memorable of the specials, and is the reason Dangerfield went to cable for his next shows.  Fairchild is a better comic actress than she ever gets credit for and only the recent ad clothing chain campaign one retailer had featuring her proved that further.  They made a big mistake dropping her, as this special reminds us.


It’s Not Easy Being Me (1986, different from the first program and the beginning of DVD2: the cable shows) guest stars Roseanne (when her last name was Barr), Jeff Altman, Sam Kinison, Jerry Seinfeld, and Robert Townsend.  The foul language and stand-up segments take a giant jump, but some strange skits remain.  Most amazing is the incredible then-unknown talent Dangerfield hosts on this show, proving his great tastes and instincts in comedy.  With that said, it is a remarkable show and shows why Dangerfield’s became a club that lives up to his name.


Nothin’ Goes Right (1987) features Andrew “Dice” Clay, Carol Leifer, Robert Schimmel and Lenny Clarke among the new talents who taker the stage.  Clarke’s routine on terrorists is so politically incorrect, but many will find fascinating to hear today.  This time, the stand up is hit and miss, but it is still a decent show overall.


The Really Big Show (1991) has Fred Willard helping out to host mostly still-unknowns who are not bad.  The “storyline” is that Dangerfield needs these new comics for his big cable special.  Jamie Farr, Steve Allen, Corbin Bernsen and Mr. T also appear.  The standup is better integrated and the few skits are not as silly as usual, though not masterpieces either.


Opening Night At Rodney’s Place (1989) brings back Sam Kinison, then adds Rich Little, Heather Thomas, Chuck McCann, Ron Jeremy, Tim Allen, Jeff Foxworthy and more good-if-not-well-known comics for another Dangerfield nightclub.  This is the longest show here at 90 minutes and Greg Travis is the funniest new guy here.  There is also an odd send-up of The Tonight Show with McCann as Ed McMahon and Little as Johnny Carson, and several segments of an equally odd spoof of Sherlock Holmes.


This Is Your Life (1986) has Dangerfield interrupted during his stand-up by new host David Frost, with a taped nod from Chevy Chase, a clip form his early hosting of Saturday Night Live, Robert Klein in the flesh and more running just over a half-hour.


Tonight Show work features highlights of about 70 shows he did when Carson hosted.  Note this does not count all the times he appeared when Leno hosted him in later years.  This clip repeats the clip on Johnny Carson – The Ultimate Collection, but a longer version at about nine minutes.


Rodney’s Act (1988) is from a personal tape made at the MGM Grand where Rodney is at his most raw, something none of the specials capture.  It is interesting for the dissonance it offers, Dangerfield more isolated that usual doing his humor of loneliness.  That he can remember so many one-liners is unreal, but he was the best.  This lasts nearly 50 minutes.


The shows all add up to about seven hours, as each main show runs about an hour except for the 1989 show and the rest happen to fill the space left by commercial breaks, et al.  All the footage is 1.33 X 1 professional NTSC tape, though the final piece is letterboxed to something like 1.8 X 1 and does not have the clearest image, but is worth seeing.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is mostly simple stereo, but any monophonic sound is not bad.  There are no extras per se, as all the above are set up as a series of stages of his career, but many of these shows have been out of circulation for years.  Fans who have them on tape or 12” LaserDisc will be happy with this set, as the condition of the material is as good as it can get.


Recently, Tony Curtis was talking about his life and talked about how all people have problems and a dark cloud that always follows them.  Rodney Dangerfield always saw the silver lining in the darkest of those clouds to get the laughs, and that is why he is a legend.  This set reminds us of that.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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