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INTO THE NIGHT / RSVP

He's Still at Sea on That Getting Respect Thing

June 15, 1995|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Tuesday's PR event/sail on the Regentsea, a 115-foot "motorized vessel," around Marina del Rey to kick off sales of Rodney Dangerfield's "No Respect" paperback. Why do the hyping on a two-hour mini-cruise? Said the author in his patented style: "Somebody had an idea: Go on a boat. It sounds different. It's not bad. What the heck."

The Product: Technically, it is a book. Paper inscribed with print and images are glued together. It's just not much of a book. For $7, a fan gets Rodney mug shots, cartoons and 150 of his one-liners. (Sample: "I didn't get any respect from anyone. My twin brother forgot my birthday.")

Quoted: "You put a lot of jokes together and it's a book," said the author. "You ain't gonna learn anything deep here. You may get a laugh here and there, that's about it."

The Buzz: It's definitely for die-hard fans. Longtime aficionados will be able to spot which jokes date to "The Ed Sullivan Show" appearances. "It's not publishing," said one guest. "It's recycling."

Who Was There: The author, film crews, publicists, business associates (the comedian is a veritable cottage industry); among the 150 guests were Angie Dickinson, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, Bob Saget, Suzanne Stevens, Kevin Garnier, Corine and George Sidney, and Andrew Dice Clay.

Chow: A buffet of turkey, chicken, pasta and salad from Koo Koo Roo. "My idea of a great evening," said an appreciative free-lance writer. "Koo Koo Roo and liquor."

Best Snippet of Dialogue: Rodney turns to a young woman and asks, "Why are you here? Are you an actress?" She replies: "Yes, and my first movie was with you. We were in a Jacuzzi together." The look of a man stunned, trying to remember and speechless was priceless.

Cruise Low Point: When the ship approached the breakwater, a foul smell filled the air. This is where the sea birds roost day and night. "Those rocks are white for a reason," said a member of the crew.

The Regentsea's Proud History: Though the ship is used primarily for corporate parties and weddings, it's also been used to scatter cremation ashes. One customer requested--but was turned down--when he wanted to bury a body at sea. "It was a Viking thing," said a crew member.

Noted: One of the evening's sub-themes was too many publicists chasing too few avenues of expression. One example: Moet & Chandon attached inch-and-a-half-wide pieces of tape emblazoned with the word "Moet" to each champagne bottle. Presumably this would make the brand name more visible to film crews and any visually impaired guests.

Talk About No Respect: Though there were piles of the book on tables, not everyone took one when they left. Except for the paparazzi. "I've got a major library at home from things like this," said one.

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