It's sometimes said, rather erroneously, that comedy is a sunshiny, puppy-cute kind of thing, since it deals with laughter and smiles and big, throaty guffaws.
But any stand-up can tell you that shallow merriment and what's being said into the mic are as far apart as the back table at a club is from the brick wall behind the comic. Comedy complains, as a rule, just as it challenges, sighs, prods and amusingly bemoans our sometimes sorry lot in life.
And there have been few bemoaners as memorable as Rodney Dangerfield, a comedian who's catchphrase -- everyone knows it -- is very much about striving, then failure, as a funny concept.
The Grammy Museum will celebrate the man who won at not winning, with a full-scale exhibit looking back at the life, stage sets, and movie career of the comedian, who passed away in 2004. A 1980 Grammy Award for Mr. Dangerfield's album "No Respect" will be on display -- yep, he's a Grammy winner for a work claiming he's got no respect, which should tickle everyone -- as will a robe the performer wore in "Easy Money."
His very first headshot and that black suit and red tie he wore so often will also make museum cameos. Look also for video tributes from Lily Tomlin and Jay Leno.
"The Comedic Genius of Rodney Dangerfield" is on at the Grammy Museum from Sunday, Nov. 2 through February 2015.
Lovers of laughs, note this: November is Comedy Month at the LA Live-based institution, so there are a few more stand-up-style treats in store, including "An Evening with Kathy Griffin" and "An Evening with Richard Lewis."
Surely every visitor to the Rodney Dangerfield exhibit will say some version of these words -- "he finally got some respect" -- and they'll be right. But entertaining audiences through the time-honored art of self-deprecation and self-dressing-down clearly gave the comedian a lot of respect all along.