Rodney Dangerfield Leaves Hospital

ByABC News
April 21, 2003, 3:17 PM

April 21 -- UCLA Medical Center won't have Rodney Dangerfield to kick around anymore.

The 81-year-old comic joked as he checked out of the California hospital, where he underwent brain surgery on April 8. The 12-hour operation was performed to improve the stand-up's blood flow.

Dangerfield must still undergo a heart bypass. But the caffeine-charged, bug-eyed comic was in a great mood, flashing his self-deprecating humor, his publicist said.

"My wife thinks I'm dumb and that's why I needed brain surgery," Dangerfield said from his hospital room, publicist Kevin Kasaki told

"I made a deal with her. I said, 'No more brain surgeries for me as long as you stay as dumb as you are.' "

Dangerfield underwent an extracranial-intercranial brain bypass and was under sedation several days, requiring a respirator.

From Aluminum Siding to Comic Gold

When he left intensive care Friday, the first thing Dangerfield wanted to do was tune into the Jerry Springer Show, which is his favorite, Kasaki said.

Dangerfield, a former aluminum-siding salesman, has made a career of poking fun at his troubles. Though he struggled with stand-up for 10 years, including stints as a singing waiter, nothing took till he was 40. Then he quickly struck gold with his new poor-me, "no-respect" persona, complete with nervous tie-tugging and brow-mopping.

His one-line classics include: "My wife was afraid of the dark, saw me naked and now she's afraid of the light."

He has performed on The Tonight Show more than 70 times and has won two Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. But Dangerfield is perhaps best known for his roles in Caddyshack, Easy Money and Back to School. The latter was one of the first films to gross more than $100 million.

Kasaki said Dangerfield is already revising his forthcoming biography, Rodney Exposed, to prove that he's still funny, "even under sedation."