I never really got the Rodney Dangerfield no respect routine, I mean, I get it, but I guess I don’t agree with it. Rod is seen as a working class hero’s comedian with a very quick wit, a great sense of humor and a talent for one-liners. That is his background. He is not Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson or any of the other great comedians who have both great wit and quick intelligence. They kept up with current affairs and were always able to find the funny side in them.
Rod is sort of the king of the one-liners. They are mostly about his own life. A central theme is his perceived lack of respect from others. He used that routine to make a hell of a career for himself but he’s not in the same league as Johnny Carson and the others I listed above. He’s simply step or two below them. I would compare him to someone like Andrew Dice Clay or maybe a Nick DiPaulo. Dice, I believe, was inspired by Rodney. They have similar routines.
Bill Cosby is a perfect example of a superstar comedian who’s at the top of heap, a so-called A-List comedian. At that next level, are comedians who are very funny and can always make you laugh but the topics they cover, like everyday life or their own lives, put them a step or two behind the comedians who can make fun of entertainers, politicians, athletes, and or other celebrities because they keep up with those people and are very knowledgable about those subjects.