Laced into nearly every Rodney joke is an affecting aspect of emotional pain. "I can't get no respect" becomes the mantra, and it's easy to look at an unattractive maker of dirty jokes and laugh at him. But in the end the mantra is just a marketable package designed to allow him to distribute effective zingers marinated in deep meaning."Zingers marinated in deep meaning"? Check, please. I know plenty of people with lives of hardship, some shittier than Rodney's -- and without the money and fame. I'm not bashing the man, here, but he did make a pile in the 70s and 80s, even if he did blow it all on the trifecta of booze, coke, and hookers. Sure, sure, money can't buy happiness, and all that rot. Tell you what, if your money ain't making you happy, send it my way; you ain't using it right.
I thought Rodney was funny, particularly in Easy Money and, to a lesser extent, Back to School (which would have been better if the film-makers hadn't decided to go for the PG rating). But it was all on well-worn territory. Rodney, despite making the no-respect-loser persona clearly his, never told a joke that he couldn't have turned around and sold to any other Jewish comic except Woody Allen.
It seems like every day the bar gets lower for the media-canonization of yet another dead celebrity. Jesus.