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It's Not Easy Bein' Me
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Foreword by Jim Carrey

The book you are holding in your hands or clenched in your teeth, maybe? - is the amazing life story of one of my all-time heroes, Rodney Dangerfield.

I've read it twice - the first time, quickly, to see what he said about me, the second time to learn about his amazing life

Rodney is, without a doubt, as funny as a carbonbased life-form can be. Watching his act is like watching a boxing match on fast-forward. His biggest problem is that he fires off his brilliant one-liners so fast that by the the time you've recovered from one joke, you've already missed the next three. Rodney is a walking encyclopedia of stand-up comedy, spanning the generations, from nightclubs to websites, from Ed Sullivan to Conan O'Brien. And through it all, for more than fifty years, he has remained high, I mean really hip.

In addition to performing his own comedy, he has given a big boost to hundreds of comics. As the owner of Dangerfield's, his nightclub in New York, and through his HBO specials, he has always been a young comedian's best friend. His eye for talent is unmatched, and he never took the safe way out. He fostered plenty of mainstream comedians, but his heart really went out to the edgy performers, those men (Sam Kinison) and women (Roseanne) who had a hard time getting booked when they were starting out because they weren't "user-friendly." He even helped discover a young impressionist from Canada who dreamed, at one time, of being the next Rich Little. (For those of you who are moving your lips as you read this, that young impressionist was me.) More than twenty years ago, I was performing in a small club in Toronto when I got my first gig opening for Rodney at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. That was a very big deal for me, a huge break, and someday, I'm going to thank Rodney for giving me that break. Someday.

After that run in Vegas, Rodney took me on tour with him for a couple of years, and we had a lot of laughs, and a lot of bad airplane meals. One day, though, I decided to change my act - I wanted to stop doing my impressions and start being myself onstage. Well, things got pretty weird for a while after that. And by "weird" I mean that I was bombing night after night. But I stuck with it, mainly because I could always hear Rodney laughing in the wings. After a show, he'd say to me, "Man, those people were lookin' at you like you were from another planet!" But I was making him laugh, so I knew I was onto something. A lot of comedians even a star as big as Rodney Dangerfield, would have dumped an opening act that wasn't making his audience laugh, but Rodney stood by me, told me to keep on doing what I was doing.

He, of course, knew something about sticking with it. He struggled for decades before he reached the top of his profession. I don't know if anybody remembers the era of the comedy club - they were quite popular places at one time, but you can only see them now in the Smithsonian, I think - but I did stand-up in clubs for fifteen years and sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the thought that Rodney had dropped out of the business when he was in his forties. Made it big. In a business that almost always values youth over talent, he was - and still is - absolute proof that it's never too late to make your mark. You may have to quit for a while and sell some aluminum siding, but you don't have to give up your dreams.

Most people don't know this about Rodney, but he is also a very weet and generous man. We're talking about a guy who has dozens of people walk up to him every day of his lkike and say, "Hey, Rodney, I'll give you some respect," as if he's never heard it before, and not once has be cold-coked anyone. That alone is an incredible achievement. I know because, apparently, I'm smokin'!

Rodney has written thousands of great jokes, but for me, his funniest line is his classic setup, "I don't get no respect." That's almost an inside joke because from me, and from all the hundreds of comedians he has helped and inspired, and from anybody who digs great comedy, he gets nothing but love and respect.



BACK COVER

Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey quote on the back cover


"Rodney has found a way to appeal to every generation. He is, without a doubt, as funny as a carbon-based life-form can be."


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