The world lost something that was uniquely Americana - Rodney Dangerfield
Maybe it wasn't so much his jokes and one liners, but to the depth that he portrayed his persona. A bumbling nit wit who felt slighted at getting no respect. He played a down to earth nobody and always ended up on top, if not for dumb luck.
There was sincerity in his persona about not getting respect, his childhood was not pleasant. Ignored by an uncaring mother, and a father who was gone more than he was present, Rodney had to learn to become his own man and faced his demons through his shtick. He turned his pain into humor and that is what made him so lovable.
He always dressed like something fresh out of a fashion designer's worst nightmare and to those of us who sometimes dress in unmatched clothes – he became a folk hero. Our polyester white knight. His on screen apparel was so badly incompatible; I'd be willing to bet the guys on “Queer eye for the straight guy” have refused to watch his movies out of shear terror.
His crass and loud mouthed character in Caddy Shack II carried that movie as he was matched with other comedians who somehow were subordinate to the overflowing Rodney.
His 'no respect' also touched that part of us that seemingly gets trampled and ignored. One felt kinsman ship with him, and we had a champion who took our plight to the stage and the silver screen.
He picked up where Jackie 'The Great One' Gleason, a.k.a. Ralph Cramdon, left off and now that void is there again waiting to be filled once more. A noble line of princes whose house was started by W.C. Fields, and the grand lady of the manor, Mae West.
Rather than saying a kaddish, especially at the thought of losing a fellow Jew, maybe it might be more appropriate that I stop at the video store and rent Caddy Shack II – my favorite, sitting down with some popcorn, and watching the disastrous hero in full spendor.
He was an ill man – which does happen when someone gets to be his age. It's not his passing that touches a part of our hearts. It is about losing an everyday symbol of what we feel down deep inside - ignored and unappreciated. It is about losing a voice, a say. It is about losing an epic call to be ourselves for who we are, to accept ourselves as whom we are, to accept our idiotic mistakes gracefully, and be completely unashamed of ourselves.
Maybe, it is really about saying 'Thank you'.