Rodney Dangerfield kept us all laughing for decades with his self-deprecating brand of humor; when he died in 2004, fans mourned the loss of one of the pioneers of comedy, and his wife Joan knew then that she wanted to put together something to honor him.
Cut to 2013, on what would have been Dangerfield’s 92nd birthday; Joan has unveiled a new website chock-full of photos, videos, interviews, handwritten notes, and other material that has been stashed away in her archives until now. The site, Rodney.com, took several years to get just right. 60-year old Joan has made it a labor of love, turning it into a gigantic memoir that all his fans can enjoy.
The couple met in the early ’80s when she was working in a flower shop, and married in 1993. From then on, the two were inseparable and remained dedicated to one another over the years. Joan says she even has a jar full of her late husband’s sweat, something some might be put off by; she says it was just another joke to Rodney.
“I discovered that Elvis had a handkerchief that was apparently stained with his sweat and it went for a lot of money,” Joan said. “So Rodney had a ‘eureka’ moment. He said, ‘I sweat more than anybody! My sweat has to be as good as Elvis’ sweat, right?’ It means a lot to me. I do know how hard he worked to make people laugh.”
Of her husband, Joan says, “Known chiefly for his no-respect persona, Rodney was the Socrates of our time. His comedy was the unveiling of the great mysteries behind the common man in the everyday world. He was an idealist, not simply a character but a champion of the downtrodden, and his success was proof of his theory that every man believes himself to be the underdog. Everyone laughed, because everyone identified. Getting no respect was not only his tag line, but his hypothesis.”