The danger in having a catch phrase is that your entire career gets reduced to one line.

Few people remember comic Henny Youngman, but many people use his corny zinger, “Take my wife … Please!”

Steve Martin used to be a “wild and crazy guy,” even though his most recent movies have been tame to lame.

Flip Wilson claimed, “The devil made me do it,” but today, six years after his death, his great cross-dressing routines as Geraldine are quickly fading from pop culture memory.

Rodney Dangerfield died in October, but even before his passing most people knew him as the guy who got “no respect.”

While this one-liner was the cornerstone of his comedy routines, movie and TV roles, lost in that simplistic caricature is the fact that Dangerfield was a brilliant comic with a sharp, self-deprecating wit through a career that spanned four decades.

The new DVD set “Rodney Dangerfield – The Ultimate No Respect Collection” showcases the best of Dangerfield’s stand-up.

The three-disc set collects nearly eight hours of material, including three ABC-TV specials from the early “80s, three HBO specials spanning the mid-“80s and early “90s in which Dangerfield is at the top of his self-effacing game.

“Hey, I know I’m not a sexy guy,” he quips. “My dog found out he looked like me and he killed himself.”

“My wife said I was no good in bed and went out to get a second opinion.”

“My uncle once asked me to come sit on his lap. He was in the electric chair at the time.”

The set also gives you fine early performances from the best up-and-coming comics who played Dangerfield’s Manhattan nightclub, Rodney’s Place, during the 1980s and early “90s, including Jerry Seinfeld, Sam Kinison, Roseanne, Bill Hicks and even, regrettably, Andrew “Dice” Clay.

Also included in the set is a rare 1995 video of Dangerfield’s entire act at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and a gut-bustingly funny clip from his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” where Dangerfield made about 70 appearances.

The DVD set claims the footage was selected by Dangerfield himself about six months before his death. Perhaps Dangerfield had a legacy in mind. Sure, getting no respect made him a catch-phrase guy, but he was by no means a one-joke comic.


3 stars

R2 Entertainment, $39.99

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