Rodney Dangerfield Gets No Respect. Again.
Poor Rodney. He never got any respect at the best of times. Even when he was playing himself.
My Creative Partner, Eugene, and I were racking our brains for a radio campaign idea for Monroe Shock Absorbers. Eugene hit on the idea of using a Rodney Dangerfield sound-alike to produce a series of funny spots focusing on the comic.
Sadly, the budget was very lean at $5,000C, so we couldn’t afford the real guy.
So Eugene started casting for the talent and I started working on the scripts. It was a piece of cake:
‘The springs squeak so much in my car, I got into it last night thinking it was my mattress. I couldn’t find my wife there either…’ (Drum roll)
‘My car does so much Rocking & Rolling, I’ve been thinking of joining a Heavy Metal band…’ (Drum roll)
‘Every time I get into my car, I get the shock of my life! So yesterday I called an electrician…’ (Drum roll)
And so it went for ten executions, the client loved the idea and Eugene found the perfect wannabe Dangerfield. The recording session went flawlessly, and we spent the afternoon laughing our martinis out with the client in the boardroom afterwards.
Until he said ‘Of course you got the approval of his agent…’ Without missing a beat, Eugene lied: ‘Of course!’
That’s when we started pulling our hair out. But Eugene had the idea of calling Rodney’s agent, and making him an offer he had to refuse: we record ten spots with Rodney and pay the agent the grossly minuscule amount of five thousand Canadian dollars. With a complete buyout!
He’d have to turn it down.
The next day, when Eugene called the agent, Rodney himself answered the phone. Backpedaling, Eugene protested: ‘I didn’t mean to disturb you, Mr. Dangerfield. I was looking for your agent…’
‘You’re talking to him! I fired my agent!!!’
When Eugene explained the sorry state of our finances, along with the fact that we were planning on hiring a sound-alike, Rodney asked how much we were paying the poor slob.
‘$5,000 – Canadian’ Eugene says. ‘I’ll take it!!!’ Rodney bellows. ‘This is why I fired my agent. He would have passed! What am I, made of money?’
Which would have been a real coup for us. If we hadn’t already blown the budget. As it was, we had to tell him the client was still deciding and we’d get back to him.
Praying he never stooped to tuning in any Canadian radio stations.
The last thing we heard was ‘What did I tell you??? I never get any resp…’ His voice trailed off as he slammed down the phone.