Audio Remasterer: Bob Fisher .
Photographer: John Atashian.
From Henny Youngman to Steven Wright and on to Mitch Hedberg, the one-liner comedian has to figure out the tricky problem of the comedy album. One track per joke is ridiculous and lumping them together thematically is tricky, so the beloved Rodney Dangerfield made it easy on himself by simply dividing his act as the record flipped. While this one track per side method makes putting a best-of together difficult, if anyone is up to the task it's Shout Factory, the respected pop culture fanatics who just happen to own a label. Their Greatest Bits release doesn't hack but skillfully extracts the best parts of the No Respect, I Don't Get No Respect, and Rappin' Rodney albums in ten-plus minute segments. By keeping the tracks long, the "you are there" feeling of Rodney's original albums is retained with all the clinking glasses and other audience ambience transporting the listener to a Vegas of yore. His hilarious riffing on sad situations ("I got a car. Every Sunday I take the family out for push"), growing old ("Eating has replaced sex completely. I had a mirror put in above my kitchen table"), and his own fame ("Prominent people look at me and have one thought; there but for the grace of God...") are all as funny as ever, which is more than you can say for the dated musical number "Rappin' Rodney." Course, this white-man-rapping-poorly cut is such an unbelievable and oddball novelty it had to be included, and seeing as how Rodney's joyful everyman version of "Finiculi Finicula" from the Easy Money soundtrack is here, all is forgiven. Shout Factory's collection is right up there with Hip-O's 2005 set 20th Century Masters, but with the longer tracks and liner notes from the comedian's widow, this one has the personal touch and feels much more genuine overall. ~ David Jeffries