Rodney Dangerfield, king of LPM (laughs per minute)

My tribute set the other night at Schtick or Treat was Rodney Dangerfield. Man, amazing how many punchlines per minute he gets. You think Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg tell short jokes, but Rodney's the king.

Here's the set I did, cherry picked from different parts of his great "No Respect" album.

No respect at all. When I was a baby I was breastfed by my father.

I tell ya, I can't relax, ya know? The other night I felt like having a few drinks. I went over to the bartender and I said, "Surprise me." He showed me a naked picture of my wife.

My wife, I got no sex life either. She cut me down to once a month. Oh, I'm lucky. Two guys I know she cut out completely. I met one of the guys and i told him "Who told you you could fool around with my wife?" He told me, "Everybody." My wife, last night she told me she wants to have sex in the backseat of the car...and she wants me to drive. For crying out loud.

My sex life is nothing anyway. I told a girl from Allstate what I want to put in your hands, you'll never sell me insurance! What a sex life. The only reason I get any girls at all is because of who I am...a rapist. The other night I caught a peeping tom booing me.

I'm getting old. At my age, I want two girls at once so if I fall asleep they got each other to talk to. Are you kidding?

I tell you my trouble, I got the wrong doctor. You know my doctor, Dr. Vinnie Boombatz. I saw him last week. I told him, "Doc, everyday I wake up and I look in the mirror, I wanna throw up. What's wrong with me?" He said, "I don't know but your eyesight is perfect!" One time I called him, I swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest. I never had any luck with doctors. My psychiatrist told me I was going crazy. I said if you don't mind, I'd like a second opinion. He said, "Alright, you're ugly too!"

I never got girls. I was making love to one girl and she started to cry. I said, "You'll hate yourself in the morning?" She said, "I hate myself now." This girl was no bargain either. Showed up, she had pigtails under her arms. This girl was fat and ugly. Ooh was she ugly. How ugly? She was known as a "two bagger." That's a girl who's so ugly, when you go out with her you put a bag on your head in case the bag over her head breaks. She was ugly! I bent down to pet her cat, it was the hair on her legs. Ugly chick. I took her to the top of the Empire State Building, airplanes started to attack her. I mean ugly. When two guys broke in her apartment, she yelled, "Rape!" They yelled "No!"

So fucking good. There's not a single extra word in there. And the rhythm of his delivery is great too. The last paragraph just builds and builds, rapid-fire. It's like a fighter landing jab after jab. It really elevates the one-liner style to a whole new plane when you can build one joke on top of another like that. Although they're not one liner guys, you see people like Daniel Tosh and Greg Giraldo use a similar sorta pile-on style.

I also inserted a lot of the little asides he uses. Funny how just these lines can become hilarious when used to fill in the cracks between jokes.

What a crowd...Classy crowd...What d'ya wanna fight now? It's a funny line, don't give me that BS. I've been through enough in my life...Are you kidding?...I tell ya...For crying out loud...etc.

Definitely a learning experience to actually write down a great comic's material and study their rhythm and delivery this way.


d said...

Yeah, he's amazing. And I love the Dr. Vinnie Boombatz material and how he would get applause for saying his name!

"You know him, Dr. Vinnie Boombatz"

Abbi Crutchfield said...

I was hoping most people would do straight-up impressions and not interpretations. But the slice of watermelon for Gallagher sounded pretty funny. My favorite Dangerfield line: "She was so fat, cops would come up to her and say, 'Break it up!'"

How did it feel knowing you'd get solid, consistent laughter all the way thru? Did it feel wrong (like stealing)? Did it feel not as exciting as doing your own stuff?

Matt Ruby said...

How did it feel knowing you'd get solid, consistent laughter all the way thru?

Oh you know, the same as it does whenever I perform. ; )

It was fun to "steal" once like this but it'd be lame to do it repeatedly.

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