It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs

It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs

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by Rodney Dangerfield

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Anybody can repeat a Rodney Dangerfield joke, but nobody can tell one like the man himself. That's because his humor, built on the premise that he "don't get no respect," is drawn from a life so hard that the only way to survive was to laugh at it -- though all the drugs and hookers certainly didn't hurt.

In It's Not Easy Bein' Me, Dangerfield comes clean


Anybody can repeat a Rodney Dangerfield joke, but nobody can tell one like the man himself. That's because his humor, built on the premise that he "don't get no respect," is drawn from a life so hard that the only way to survive was to laugh at it -- though all the drugs and hookers certainly didn't hurt.

In It's Not Easy Bein' Me, Dangerfield comes clean (even if he still works blue) about his brutal life and the unlikely triumph he made out of it. His father was in vaudeville, and his mother was from hell, which is why a young Jack Roy grabbed a mike and got up on a stage straight out of high school. He was looking for laughs, some approval...and a few easy women. He struggled for years, getting by but never getting over, playing dives and opening for strippers, hypnotists, and snake charmers. Then at thirty, Dangerfield walked away from all that glamour. He quit show business, got a "real" job -- as an aluminum-siding salesman -- and started raising a family in Englewood, New Jersey. He was out of comedy for twelve unhappy years, but all the while he was writing jokes, scheming, and dreaming of his comeback.

Eventually, he changed his act, changed his name, and changed American comedy forever. He developed one of the most popular characters in all of show business -- the poor schnook who gets no respect. Not from his parents, his wife, his kids, not even from his physician, Dr. Vinnie Boombatz.

But his millions of fans not only respected him, they loved him, reciting dozens of his jokes from memory and quoting chapter and verse from Caddyshack, the movie that made Dangerfield into a comedic superstar. Today, Dangerfield stands as a true pillar of American comedy (though at eighty-two, he says, he's crumbling a little) and after the life he's led, it's amazing he's standing at all.

Wild, hip, and hilarious, It's Not Easy Being Me is like having a front-row seat to the ultimate Rodney Dangerfield performance, where the jokes come at a hundred miles an hour and the outrageous stories go on forever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Vegas headliner for 20-plus years, Dangerfield became a huge comedic success while maintaining his image as a hassled everyman. He is, says Carrey, "as funny as a carbon-based life form can be." After writing I Couldn't Stand My Wife's Cooking, So I Opened a Restaurant; I Don't Get No Respect; and No Respect, he now presents this anecdotal autobiography, effectively blending honesty and humor. He was born Jacob Cohen in 1921 to a vaudevillian father constantly on the road and a "coldhearted," "selfish" mother: "I guess that's why I went into show business-to get some love." As Jack Roy, he began performing in his teens, struggled in clubs across the country but quit in 1949 to spend 12 years as an aluminum-siding salesman. At 40, he changed his name and his act: "I was older and wiser, yeah, but I was funnier too." In a major comeback, he made 70 Tonight Show appearances and opened his own nightclub in 1969, followed by TV specials and commercials, albums and hit movies. Writing with hip, showbiz savvy and a backstage bawdiness, he regales with tales of Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman and many more, and devotes full chapters to sex and drugs. Sidebar jokes, relevant to the text, appear throughout, along with cartoons and b&w photos. Agent, Chris Calhoun. (On sale May 25) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

It's Not Easy Bein' Me
A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs

Chapter One

I Was A Male Hooker ...

Most kids never live up
to their baby picture

Roy and Arthur was a vaudeville comedy team. Roy was my father; Arthur was my uncle Bunk. On November 22, 1921, after their last show that night in Philadelphia, Phil Roy got a call backstage, where he was told, "It's a boy!"

My father drove that night from Philadelphia to Babylon, Long Island, to greet his new son, Jacob Cohen. Me. (My father's real name was Philip Cohen; his stage name was Phil Roy.)

I was born in an eighteen-room house owned by in mother's sister Rose and her husband. After a couple of weeks my mother took me back to her place in Jamaica, Queens where we lived with my four-year-old sister, Marion, my mother's mother, my mother's other three sisters -- Esther, Peggy, and Pearlie -- her brother Joe, and a Swedish carpenter named Mack, who Esther later married. The whole family had come to America from Hungary when my mother was four. My mother's father -- my grandfather -- was almost never referred to in that house. Rumor has it he's still in Hungary -- and still drinking. My dad wasn't around much, either. I found out much later that he was a ladies' man. Dad had no time for his kids -- he was always out trying to make new kids. I was born on my father's birthday. It didn't mean a fucking thing. His first wife was a southern girl. It was literally a shotgun wedding -- and the marriage lasted until my father went back on the road with his vaudeville act.

I was an ugly kid. When I was born, after
the doctor cut the cord, he hung himself.

My mother was my dad's second wife. She was pregnant with my older sister, Marion, so Dad did the honorable thing.

I feel awkward referring to my father as "Dad." When you hear that word, you picture a man who looks forward to spending time with his family, a man who takes his son camping or to a ball game every once in a while. My father and I did none of those things. He didn't live with us. Show business kept him on the road practically all the time -- or was it my mother?

When my father wasn't on the road, he'd stay in New York City. About every six months, I'd take the train from Kew Gardens into New York to see him. We'd walk around for an hour and talk -- not that we ever had much to say to each other -- then he'd walk me back to the subway and give me some change. I'd say, "Thank you," and then take the subway back home.

I figured out that during my entire childhood, my father saw me for two hours a year.

In my life I've been through plenty. When
I was three years old, my parents got a dog. I
was jealous of the dog, so they got rid of me.

Although I didn't realize it at the time, my childhood was rather odd. I was raised by my mother, who ran a very cold household. I never got a kiss, a hug, or a compliment. My mother wouldn't even tuck me in, and forget about kissing me good night. On my birthdays, I never got a present, a card, nothing.

I guess that's why I went into show business -- to get some love. I wanted people to tell me I was good, tell me I'm okay. Let me hear the laughs, the applause. I'll take love any way I can get it.

When I was three years old, I witnessed my first act of violence. I walked into the living room and saw my mother lying on the couch, being beaten by her four sisters. My mother was kicking and screaming.

"Get Joe!" She yelled, "Get Joe!"

I did what my mother told me. I ran up two flights of stairs and started pulling on her brother Joe to wake him up. I kept repeating, "Uncle Joe, downstairs! Downstairs!" He came down and broke it up.

What a childhood I had. Once on my
birthday my old man gave me a bat. The first
day I played with it, it flew away.

From the time I was four years old, I had to make my own entertainment. There was a parking lot next to our three-story building that was always vacant after dark. Every night I would hear voices below my window, and I knew what that meant -- there was going to be a fight. This is where the local tough guys would come to settle their beefs.

From my windowsill, I had the best seat in the house ...

It's Not Easy Bein' Me
A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs
. Copyright © by Rodney Dangerfield. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't no if he is telling a story or making a joke. As I read its like his voice in my head doing stand up. Save your money ( only 140 pages) and watch his bio on Tv.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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emb1911 More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written and funny ! I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book. All I could see was Rodney making his funny faces and gestures while reliving his stories in the book. I have heard many of his jokes and was surprised that there were different jokes in the book i had never heard. If you like Rodney's one liners you will love this book. I give it 5 stars ! Now one of my all time favorite books.
Randall_Yamamoto More than 1 year ago
This was a good story but I wish it was more chronological. He jumped around from decade to decade. I would like to know why he did not serve in the military during WWII.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVE Rodney Dangerfield! I Loved his humor way back in the 60s and 70s. I bought this book thinking that I'd be getting good comedy. Yes - there are lots of jokes in it. There's also a lot of misery history. It seems (to me) more like a book to expose all the bad things that happened to Rodney during his life and who is responsible for it. There were a few times when I had to stop reading at times until I could stop laughing and see again (just a few of these). I read this book in one sitting - but this went surprisingly fast. Again - I love Rodney. But I feel that my $30 could have been better spent. If you want Danderfield humor, go buy or rent one of his flicks. Heck - for $30 you can buy a boatload of his DVDs. Many more laughs and lots less 'my life was SOOO bad'. And no - I don't mean 'I get no respect' type stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! I read this book in 2 sittings. Of all the made for TV movies I have seen this has to become one of them. If you thought you knew Rodney don't. This book falls into my top 5 favorite memoirs. By any means possible pick up a copy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly amazing book. I never realized that a comedian could write a book so well. He worked so hard to achieve his lifetime of respect and now, he's given the public the chance to read and learn to respect him more than ever now. A truly respectful book by a truly respected comedian. People will read this book and say, 'I respect him' and I respect him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for all fans of Rodney. Whether you're in Show Biz or sitting behind a desk this book is hard to put down. A word to the wise: Don't read it while in bed with your significant other. Several times I had outbursts of laughter while reading this book that woke up my less than amused girlfriend. Great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
And deliver he does in this honest, candid, humorous, poignant and sometimes bittersweet telling of his life. Rodney recounts his days growing up poor, sharing intimate episodes of shock and disappointment, as well as his struggles as an aspiring comic. He cleverly threads the various chapters of his life with his jokes and one-liners (you then understand how these jokes may have come about)!....This is not just a celebrity autobiography, but more a fascinating tale about an extraordinary man who has lived a difficult, colorful life, who has waged war with his demons(perhaps still does), who has befriended some of show business's most famous stars, and was able to literally 'get his act together' to achieve one of show business's most legendary careers. The book is an entertaining, riveting and breezy read from beginning to end. Readers will come away with a unique understanding of the larger-than-life Rodney Dangerfield, why he ticks the way he does and why he has become the man he is. Besides his legions of fans, this book is also a must-have for anyone who has ever thought about being a stand-up comic. A great summer read and deserving of a whole lot of 'respect!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this book! So it's not a biography of Churchill or Ben Franklin, but it is a fun read of one of America's best comedians. He has seen it all and done it all. It is nice to see that during his twilight years he has finally achieved real happiness. If you are a fan take the time to read this autobiography. You will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ididnt like him when he was living im surelynot going to read his book he was ajackassAREALJACKASS GETLOSS!!!!!!!!