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This was one really funny special that aired at the time that Rodney Dangerfield was being accepted as America's top comedian. For years, Rodney had been a big hit in night clubs and in Las Vegas, but in the late 1970's he was able to finally start making movies and television specials. This special pretended to show Rodney "behind the scenes", and it was hilarious. I remember one really funny scene was with Rodney and Bill Murray. Murray was trying to give Rodney "career advice" (like a pushy Hollywood agent) and he advised Rodney to change his "look" and his name to "Chubby Wells." Really funny stuff. Hopefully someone somewhere will decide to put this on the air, again. It was great.
Why is it strange? For two seasons: 1) Due to the lack of many actors,
Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield end up playing multiple characters.
That wouldn't be so odd if they stayed in the same character for each
sketch, but no, often they will switch mid-sketch.
For example, in one skit, Rodney wants to make it on Broadway as a dancer, so he auditions with a really bad dance number. Cut to the producers and directors who are watching Rodney... and who are ALSO played by Rodney! It's very surreal.
In another sketch, Rodney is the co-owner of a nightclub. Bill Murray appears multiple times, as a waiter, as a chef in the kitchen, and as Rodney's partner in business. I feel like saying, "Hey, you look familiar!", but strangely Rodney never lampshades this.
To get the idea of this, try to imagine if Saturday Night Live was only four cast members.
2) Aretha Franklin. She's a talented singer but she honestly seemed out of place this special. Yes, she sings "Respect", which is related to Rodney's catchphrase, but both times that she appears and sings, it brings the comedy to a halt.
The special's still worth a watch, because Rodney's stand-up at the beginning is gold, and he does a good job in the skits. But those two creative choices I listed above just left me bewildered.
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