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tearing the rag off the bush again
Rodney Dangerfield interviewed by Frank T. Csongos PDF E-mail
Our friend Frank Csongos unearthed this gem for our readers.

Forgive me for showing off. A friend of mine, a huge Rodney Dangerfield fan, asked me to send him my interview with the iconic comedian conducted at the bar of the Pittsburgh Hilton in 1975. I think it may well be my favorite story. Frank T. Csongos


 
 
Rodney Dangerfield
Comedian tells key
to his success
By FRANK T. CSONGOS

PITTSBURGH (UPI) - "The world loves a-loser," said
comedian Rodney Dangerfield, sipping his extra dry martini.
"You don't identify with winners because in real life everyone
believes he is a loser."
At 53, Dangerfield ought to know. His unique brand of "I don't
get no respect, at all" humor has made him a success on
television and a popular night club comedian.
But it wasn't always like that.
"I had a terribly rough life when I was young," Dangerfield
said shortly before a nightclub appearance. "I never did get
respect, you know what I mean. Other kids looked down on me. I
came from a split home. My mother and I moved into a classy
neighborhood in Kew Gardens, New York, when I was a
teen-ager. I experienced some indirect form of anti-semitism at
school. I'm no longer bitter about it. Everybody has scars.
"I've tried everything. I walked dogs for a couple of bucks a
week. Sold ice cream on the beach. I was a singing waiter. I
moved furniture and delivered groceries. I was so poor I used to
buy yesterday's donuts for half price.
"Later when I became a comedian I started to tell everybody
that I never get no respect. No respect at all. And, you know it's
sort of funny, ever since then I am getting respect.''
Dangerfield said his rough childhood had made a lasting impact
on his humor which he described as "just the opposite of
insult comedian Don Rickles.
"It's true that I play a character when I'm on televison or
performing in Vegas," Dangerfield explained. "But part of it is
me. And the rejection and failure is universal. Everyone has been
rejected at one point in time. So you can identify with a loser.
"A true story. I told a girl once, honey let's get married. Let's
run away. She said: you go. You see, with that you can identify.
Because nobody scores all the time."
He ordered another martini and lit a cigarette.
"Comedy is a camouflage for depression. Children used to sing
and dance in concentration camps in World War II.
"I try to hide my insecurity by cracking jokes. I look at life so
seriously. I'm a perfectionist. But you realize there are so many
imperfections. My analyst tells me -'Rodney, try to find perfection
in your work."
He lit another cigarette.
"So I'm a success now. It hasn't changed me. You can't change
because you are a product of your childhood and your environment.
I don't buy yesterday's donuts anymore. But
sometimes I tell myself—'you don't deserve all that luxury."
Dangerfield was ready to get a steam bath and freshen up for
his show. He said he wanted to lose 15 pounds so doctors can
operate on his hernia next month.
A couple came over to the table to take his picture. The camera
flashed.
"I'll be in somebody's basement," Dangerfield said.
 
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