It is one of the more incongruous concepts to emerge from the ever-unpredictable digital revolution: Rodney Dangerfield, Cyberspace Pioneer. Yes, Rappin’ Rodney — stand-up schlump, respect-challenged Everyguy — has boldly opened up his very own pit stop on the information superhighway with a home page on the World Wide Web. There are other celebrity sites on the Web, but unlike Dangerfield’s, which he says he personally tends, they are usually either posted by fans or maintained as part of larger corporate sites. All of which makes the comedian a 73-year-old new star in a very young galaxy.
The site itself is a curious mix, equal parts fan club, soapbox, and infomercial. You can hear Dangerfield recite a Joke of the Day; get the lowdown on his upcoming projects; order a bouquet from Jungle Roses, the flower business run by his wife, Joan; or even read his account of how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejected his application for membership because he had failed to ”demonstrate the mastery of the craft.” And why has Dangerfield turned technostud?
How did you get on-line?
I thought to myself, what’s the newest thing out today? And computers is it. So I asked my wife to check into it, and I got my own website. I figure it’s the future thing, so let me get involved.
Are you technically inclined?
No. I have a computer that I can talk to — it doesn’t answer me. I never had any luck with computers. I went out and bought an Apple computer. There was a worm in it.
Part of the site is devoted to the flap with the Academy. It must be nice to have a personal outlet like that.
It’s a great communication thing. I can put everything on there I want to say. What’s funny is that because of the overwhelming fan response the Academy got, they came back and asked me to be a member. They didn’t even apologize or nothing. They give no respect at all — pardon the pun — to comedy. But the girl who puts on makeup gets an award. Any organization that’s that narrow-minded I don’t care to belong to.
Your site is also a marketplace for your videos, books, even a screensaver. Is the site profitable?
I don’t look to make money on it. I guess if you get enough hits on your site, you could make money. Maybe I will. Give me an idea.