The life of genuine comedy pioneer Rodney Dangerfield is chronicled by comedy insiders and the pros he inspired along the way in the special Legends: Rodney Dangerfield, premiering Saturday, November 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, exclusively on The Comedy Network.
The king of one-liners gets his props with Legends: Rodney Dangerfield. The hour long special features clips from his classic concerts, appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, rare interview footage and tributes from an all-star line up of Dangerfield’s comedy friends including Roseanne Barr, Sandra Bernhard, Susie Essman, Jeff Foxworthy, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Norm MacDonald, Anne Meara, Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld, Jerry Stiller and many others.
Dangerfield was born in Babylon, New York in 1921. He began writing jokes at 15 and started performing before he was 20. From age 19-28, he was a reasonably successful comedian known as Jack Roy but stopped performing so he could live a “normal” life as a husband and father.
At 40, he decided to go back to his comedy roots, this time as Rodney Dangerfield, but found it difficult to get bookings on talk shows. However, after pressing his agent to book him on The Ed Sullivan Show, he performed so well that he became a regular guest. Following his initial appearance, he had cemented his image as a comedian, constantly tugging at his red tie, always proclaiming he got no respect.
Years later, Dangerfield opened his own comedy club aptly titled Dangerfield’s so that he could stop traveling and stay close to home with his two young children and still perform and discover new talent.
Other notable accomplishments include his Grammy Award-winning comedy album Rappin’ Rodney, his stand-out roles as Al Czervik in Caddyshack and Thorton Mellon in Back to School, numerous appearances on The Tonight Show and many other television and movie roles. Dangerfield died on October 5, 2004 after falling into a coma following heart surgery.