Rodney Dangerfield (search) has been in a coma for a couple of weeks after undergoing heart surgery, but has begun to show some awareness, his wife said Monday.

The 82-year-old comedian was stable and had been breathing on his own for 24 hours, Joan Dangerfield said in a statement released by the comic's publicist, Kevin Sasaki.

Dangerfield had a heart valve replaced Aug. 25 at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

There was no mention of a coma in a condition update from the publicist last week. Sasaki did not return calls for comment Monday.

Joan Dangerfield (search) said in her statement, "My husband slipped into a light coma a couple of weeks ago while recovering from his heart surgery. His overall condition, however, remains stable."

She said Dangerfield was receiving "extraordinary care" from his doctors and nurses.

"After recent visits from his family and close friends, Rodney is starting to show signs of awareness and we are all hopeful that he will regain full consciousness soon," she said. "Our family remains optimistic that Rodney will make a complete recovery and we are humbled by the love and support we have received during his hospitalization."

Dangerfield, best known for the self-mocking line, "I don't get no respect," recently released his autobiography, "It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs (search)."