“No, goddamn it, no more awkward raps by old white people!”
It’s been some time since we’ve run into [REDACTED], AFFotD’s investigatory journalist slash whipping boy. In fact, we haven’t heard from him since we sat him down and forced him to watch Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd do a rap for the movie Dragnet. But we’ve had a hard time hunting down women’s soccer games to force him to watch, so we had to justify his salary somehow, and God forbid we have him do a review of a hamburger restaurant or anything.
So, fuck it. We’ll force him to watch the 1983 music video “Rappin’ Rodney” by Rodney Dangerfield, just, over and over again. Ha ha, you suck, [REDACTED]
Oh, oh God no.
Listen, I secretly liked the Dragnet rap, truth be told. Like, it was awful, but awful enough to be good, and it didn’t make you want to jam knives in your ears too much, unless you had an issue with Tom Hanks deciding that “THE ONLY WAY. THAT YOU CAN RAP. IS IF YOU SHOUT. RHYMES LIKE THAT.” Which means it didn’t make you want to jam knives in your ears too much, because Tom Hank’s rapping style is literally the best thing.
But not this. Not this at all. Back in 1983, this was popular, people. It charted. And it’s just Rodney Dangerfield starting a “no respect” joke, pausing for the chorus girls to say “no respect, no respect” and then finish it in a way so it rhymes (which of course limits his ability to make an actually good joke). This is…well, just see for yourself. This is easily one of the most nonsensical awkward-old-white-person-rapping-in-the-80s music videos I’ve ever seen, and I once sat through the Ron Jeremy rap.
Listen, Rodney Dangerfield was an American hero. He taught men how to complain about their wives, and he was the guy who was all like “Let’s dance!” in Caddyshack, which is one of the three movies that the government is allowed to chemically castrate you if you haven’t seen. Which is why it hurts so bad to see Dangerfield in this rap video, because…oh God, well we’ll get to that.
Rodney Dangerfield appears to be on trial, I guess for receiving a criminal lack of respect. He then cocks his head to the side and makes this face because a 1980’s-version-of-attractive woman is eating a sandwich in the courtroom. Rodney’s “zingers” are broken up by the haunting chanting of “no respect, no respect” which, seriously, never stop, they never stop. If you listened to this song three times in a row, I’m pretty sure you’d go insane and start killing homeless people. Ohhh, so that’s probably why it takes place in a court room. Rodney Dangerfield was saying things like “I played hide and seek when I was three” and before he could say “why they couldn’t even look for me!” he had (probably, it was the 80’s) leotard-clad women chanting “No respect” at him like some sort of sarcasm voodoo ritual.
Here are the no respect chanters, who appear three times from the jury box during this nine seconds of the song. I might be in the minority here, but to me this seems like clear proof that there is something wrong with our court system. First of all, as Rappin’ Rodney finds himself defending himself on charges of lacking respect (though he doesn’t help his case by saying things like “When I was born I brought no joy, my old man said he wanted a boy!”) his jury only is comprised of 9 people (They didn’t want to shell out for the 3 additional extras I guess?) with three of them clearly having previously decided that Rodney Dangerfield gets no respect (no respect). I call bullshit. This trial is a charade, it was over before it even begun.
That woman eating a sandwich in the courtroom? She’s still eating that thing, though I think it’s a hot dog now. Anyway, Rodney had just said, “They put me through a dog show, and I won” at which point this woman decided to wave hello to him while chomping down on her hot dog. The hell kind of courtroom is this? You’re not allowed to eat on a goddamn subway car, why is this woman able to scarf down a hot dog while Rodney Dangerfield is testifying at his own trial? Also, why is it a crime to be disrespected? They’re not gonna address this, are they? This is just clogging up the legal system, goddamn it. It’d be like being put on trial for having someone fail to hold the elevator for you.
Rodney gets up to deliver the next lines, which causes the jury to bob their heads left and then right very violently in a move that 1983 referred to as “dancing” and to which 2012 would refer to as “OH MY GOD THEY’RE ALL HAVING SEIZURES AT THE SAME TIME!” This part is particularly painful because Rodney decides every once in a while that when he’s not talk-rapping that he should sing single words. It comes off…very strange.
I don’t know if this is the defense attorney or the prosecution. All I know is that this is the worst lawyer with narcolepsy I’ve ever seen. Because Rodney says, “I was an ugly kid, always alone,” which makes the lawyer go from…
“Excuse me, Mr. Dangerfield, would you clarify…”
I don’t get it either. But look in the background. Sandwich lady is still there, ready to…eat more hot dogs? This video isn’t making much sense.
So Rodney decides to go over to the court stenographer to air his grievances, and in the process learns that this court that only asks for 9 dancing jury members and is filled with hot dog eaters and fainting lawyers also happens to have one of the lesser professional stenographers in the business, since she stops writing down what’s happening in the courtroom to lean over (boobs) and ask, in what I guess passed for sultry in 1983, “Whatsamatta Rodney?” to which Dangerfield sort of creepily responds, “Ah death, where is my sting.”
Wait, what? How did we go from “Halloween I had to trick or treat over the phone (no respect, no respect)” to something that wouldn’t feel out of place in a suicidal Hamlet soliloquy? And how do you follow up a 62 year old comedian tossing in a line about death? JURY DANCING!
Anyway, the jury has gotten up and started dancing. They’re sliding chairs and everything. This is pandemonium. Why isn’t the judge trying to regain order?
All of a sudden, Rodney is in jail (though they gave him the rarely-seen “prison-striped suit and tie” outfit) sitting with a strangely dressed (and mustached) priest, who keeps stealing fries from Rodney’s last meal. Yes, you read that right, apparently not receiving ample amounts of respect is a crime punishable by death. Where the fuck is this taking place, Algeria? Also, it’s kind of a bummer that Rodney’s last meal is a hamburger and fries. I’m not even annoyed that the priest keeps stealing his fries, his meal is like 75% French fries. At this point he says, sort of oddly given the fact he’s going to get executed, “Steak and sex my favorite pair (no respect, no respect) I have ‘em both the same way…very rare!” Which means that hamburger wouldn’t even be his favorite meal! Give that man a steak, dammit!
Dead man walking on the green mile! Anyway, Rodney’s walking to get executed, and this old bald man (who is one of the people chanting “No respect, no respect” which is terrifying, since the voices are of women) is here to illustrate that the bars are so bendable that breaking out of this prison should be a breeze. I think I finally get it, this video is a Reagan-era condemnation of a revolving door prison system. Blame it all on Dukakis, dammit! Blame Dukakis!
This is what Rodney’s executioner is dressed like. Just let that sink in. This might be the only video to feature a woman clad in leather choking the life out of an old man that wasn’t on a very specialized invite-only pornography website.
Yes, that is Rodney Dangerfield with a noose around his neck. Yes, the leather bound executioner pulls the switch and straight up kills a fool. Just a reminder, this was so popular it made the Billboard Hot 100 for rap records. And it’s supposed to be a rap pop song written by a comedian. And we just saw him killed. And there’s still a minute left in the song.
So now Rodney is in heaven, where he still gets no respect, since St. Peter (who apparently is African American?) keeps waving people through while Rodney continues to rap about his lack of respect, which seems sort of pointless now that he’s dead. “I can’t take it no more, I’m getting too old,” he says as St. Peter let’s another person through he pearly gates, “I called suicide prevention they put me on hold.” That’s a weird thing to complain about when you’re literally twenty seconds past having a leather bound 1980’s chick hang you to death, but it’s also just a weird thing to complain about in any song ever in the history of songs. Also, we’ve now established that this takes place in a country with apathetic suicide hotline operators, flimsy jail cells, kinky executions, and a travesty of a court system. Yep, definitely Albania. That’s Albania to a T.
This happened. The other Rodney Dangerfield is still here. But then a second Rodney Dangerfield comes in rocking a boombox over his left shoulder, with a cigarette in his mouth, goggles/sunglasses on his forehead, a bandana around his neck, while giving a thumbs up before walking backwards back out of heaven. I’m only describing this for you because I want to make sure you see it too. You do, don’t you? You see the bad man? Because I’m really worried that I might be hallucinating, which happens when I drink too much. Or too little.
They’re doing the chorus. Angels are dancing while Rodney watches from outside the pearly gates. My brain isn’t really working anymore. I’m not entirely sure what’s real anymore.
As the gates of heaven close, and Rodney grabs and starts shaking the gate to try to get into heaven, he starts mumbling nonsensical ramblings that make you worry that maybe he had a stroke midway through recording the song and the producer just shrugged and said, “Eh, fuck it, let’s go with it.” As Rodney wakes up to find out that, surprise, his execution and exclusion from heaven was just one of the worst dreams to ever happen to anyone, he rants, “It’s getting worse, it’s caving in, the happiness I can’t take it no more, it’s all over, hey where are my kids? Somebody help me! Hey Bartender! Hey! Who’s that guy with my daughter!” It goes on like that. And as he’s doing that, he’s shaking his bed, assuming he’s trying to get into heaven.
Seriously, this video might be the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen, and I once saw a paralyzed puppy drown in a slowly drawn bath. When I clicked on this video of Rodney Dangerfield rapping about no respect, I assumed that it’d just be awkward white person rapping, not a desperate cry for help from someone slowly stumbling into insanity. I’ve had lithium dreams that were less terrifying. Jesus.
Okay, you know what, I need to