Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells All
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With a movie about Kaufman already out, this is his manager and friend Zmuda's recollection of the late comedian. Best remembered as English-challenged immigrant Latka Gravas on the '70s sitcom "Taxi", Kaufman also appeared regularly on "Saturday Night Live", did stand-up, and wrestled women. Photos.
terrified of television, for it promised at every turn of the dial to slap me in the face with the success of my former associates at the Improv. I slipped into my routine of rising at five-thirty to be at work at six to dish up fried animal products to the ruling class. Shelly and I were living a marginal yet pleasant existence, so finally, like an emergency-room doctor who’s been beating a dying patient’s chest too long, I just gave up. Why didn’t I pick up the phone and call Andy? I guess my
Andy do the full routine, given that the show’s sponsors wouldn’t appreciate Andy “clearing the house.” I came up with a way to keep the bit to five minutes and make it funny, thus making the transition from an experiment to test the tolerance of an audience to a part of his act that worked for all and was actually funny from start to finish. Andy went along with the alteration. On the night he first performed the revised bit, Andy took the SNL stage in front of the cameras. Instead of his
levitate. I could levitate.” What he said next stunned me because of the complete conviction with which he said it. “I could levitate, really I could, but I choose not to. It’s that simple.” “Wait a second, you’re telling me you now choose not to? Two months ago you flew halfway around the world to learn how to levitate and now you’re saying you don’t want to? I smell bullshit.” “No, look,” he said, “the thing is, I could do it, but the process requires you to purify yourself for a year. I
Neanderthal attitude and were infuriated when he would utter such phrases as “Stay in the kitchen where you belong,” or “God, man, woman, dog,” indicating the hierarchy with a descending hand gesture. On the other side of the coin, cavemen in all walks of life loved Andy and mindlessly applauded his efforts to “keep women in their places.” Both groups couldn’t have been further from the reality of the situation or the nature of the man they were cheering or jeering. That was part of Andy the
required a phenomenal output of energy. Andy saw what he did as a calling, and his life was devoted to his art. His sacrifice was that the time afforded him to be just Andy was limited. To pull off the illusion of a consistent Tony Clifton being played by two people of different heights and body types, great preparations were taken. Though I had been modestly successful in creating Tony’s face with my limited knowledge of makeup, for the latest incarnation of Mr. Clifton I turned to the pros.