To Rodney Dangerfield (first letter)

Dear Rodney,
You sir, remain fascinating to me. It’s not just because of your ability to make people laugh at the horrible indignities of everyday life. I do thank you for it though — the way you’ve drawn attention to the alienation and suffering of modern existence over and over again. The thing is, you brought the Devil home with you in the process. Just think of My 5 Wives.
You’re a regular Faust who can’t get no respect.
You knew this, didn’t you? Your father-from-hell role in Natural Born Killers conveys such an understanding. You played the Devil in an Adam Sandler film for Christ’s sake. You became the vulgar monstrosity you’d torn apart all your life.
Well you weren’t in a hurry were you? That’s not very Faustian at all… When I discovered that you abandoned stand-up to earn a stable income as an aluminum siding salesman, only to return to comedy clubs on your nights off at the age of forty, I realized where the humor was coming from. It was a very real place without privilege or grace — the kind of place you have to laugh at before you start crying.
This wasn’t a career. This was survival. You couldn’t stand a life without art, but you brought some really ignorant, misogynist rot into the practice with you. Nobody’s perfect right? With a doctor like Vinny Boombatz looking after you it’s no wonder you’ve had some errors in judgment. Perhaps there shouldn’t be any excuses though. You never made any for yourself. Thanks for coming back Rodney. Thanks for struggling to be human in public.