||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Kaufman in the early 1980's
|Born||Andrew G. Kaufman
January 17, 1949
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 16, 1984
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, New York
|Occupation||Actor, performance artist|
|Years active||1971–1984 (his death)|
|Television||As Latka Gravas in Taxi (1978–1983)|
Andrew G. "Andy" Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was an American entertainer, actor, and performance artist. While often referred to as a comedian, Kaufman did not consider himself as such. He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, referring to himself instead as a "song-and-dance man". "I'm not trying to be funny," he once said in a rare introspective interview. "I just want to play with their heads."
After working in small standup comedy clubs in the early 1970s, Kaufman first came to the attention of a wider audience in 1975, when he was invited to perform portions of his act on the first season of Saturday Night Live. His Foreign Man character was the basis of his role as Latka Gravas on the hit television show Taxi, on which he appeared from 1978 until 1983. During this time, he continued to tour comedy clubs and theaters in a series of unique performance art / comedy shows, sometimes appearing as himself and sometimes as obnoxiously rude lounge singer Tony Clifton. He was also a frequent guest on sketch comedy and late-night talk shows, particularly Late Night with David Letterman. In 1982, Kaufman brought his professional wrestling villain act to Letterman's show with a staged encounter with Jerry "The King" Lawler of the Continental Wrestling Association (although the fact that the altercation was planned in advance was not publicly disclosed for over a decade).
Kaufman died of lung cancer at age 35 in 1984. However, because pranks and elaborate ruses were major elements of his career, persistent rumors have circulated insisting that Kaufman faked his own death as a grand hoax. His body of work maintains a cult following and he continues to be respected for his original material, unique performance style, and unflinching commitment to character.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Illness and death
- 5 Death-hoax rumors
- 6 Legacy and tributes
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Published books
- 9 Further reading
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Kaufman was born on January 17, 1949 in New York City, the first son of Janice (née Bernstein) and Stanley Kaufman. He grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, Long Island, New York, and began performing at age 9. He attended the now defunct two-year Grahm Junior College in Boston, where he studied television production and starred in his own campus television show, Uncle Andy's Fun House. After graduating in 1971, he began performing stand-up comedy at various small clubs along the East Coast.
Foreign Man and Mighty Mouse
Kaufman first caught major attention with a character known as Foreign Man, who spoke in a meek, high-pitched, heavy-accented voice and claimed to be from "Caspiar", a fictional island in the Caspian Sea. As this character, Kaufman would appear on the stage of comedy clubs, play a recording of the theme from the Mighty Mouse cartoon show while standing perfectly still, and lip-sync only the line "Here I come to save the day" with great enthusiasm. He would proceed to tell a few (purposely poor) jokes and conclude his act with a series of celebrity impersonations, with the comedy arising from the character's obvious ineptitude at impersonation. For example, in his fake accent Kaufman would say to the audience, "I would like to imitate Meester Carter, de president of de United States" and then, in exactly the same voice, say "Hello, I am Meester Carter, de president of de United States. T'ank you veddy much."
At some point in the performance, usually when the audience was conditioned to Foreign Man's inability to perform a single convincing impression, Foreign Man would announce, "And now I would like to imitate the Elvis Presley", turn around, take off his jacket, slick his hair back, and launch into a rousing, hip-shaking, unexpectedly excellent rendition of Presley singing one of his hit songs, one that Presley himself described as his favorite. Like Presley, he would take off his leather jacket during the song and throw it into the audience, but unlike Presley, Foreign Man would immediately ask for it to be returned. After the song's finale, he would take a simple bow and say in his Foreign Man voice, "T'ank you veddy much."
Portions of Kaufman's Foreign Man act were broadcast in the first season of Saturday Night Live. The Mighty Mouse number was featured in the October 11, 1975, premiere, while the joke-telling and celebrity impressions (including Elvis) were included in the November 8 broadcast that same year.
Kaufman first used his Foreign Man character in nightclubs in the early 1970s, often to tell jokes incorrectly and do weak imitations of famous people before bursting into his Elvis Presley imitation. The character was then changed into Latka Gravas for the ABC's Taxi sitcom, appearing in 79 of 114 episodes from 1978 to 1983.
Bob Zmuda confirms this: "They basically were buying Andy's Foreign Man character for the Taxi character Latka." Kaufman's long-time manager, George Shapiro, encouraged him to take the gig. "My feeling was that it would be a nice boost for his career ... and he would be playing a character that he knew very well, the Foreign Man—this particular character speaks poor English in Taxi and his name is Latka Gravas." Kaufman disliked sitcoms and was not happy with the idea of being in one, but Shapiro convinced him that it would quickly lead to stardom, which would earn him money he could then put into his own act. Kaufman agreed to appear in 14 episodes per season, and initially wanted four for Kaufman's alter-ego Tony Clifton. After Kaufman deliberately sabotaged Clifton's appearance on the show, however, this part of his contract was dropped.
His character was given multiple personality disorder, which allowed Kaufman to randomly portray other characters. In one episode of Taxi, Kaufman's character came down with a condition that made him act like Alex Reiger, the main character played by Judd Hirsch. Another such recurring character played by Kaufman was the womanizing Vic Ferrari.
Taxi was a show with a large audience, and Kaufman was widely recognized as Latka. In the fictionalized version of Kaufman's life, Man on the Moon, Kaufman would punish such audiences by reading the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to them. The film depicted audiences laughing at this, not realizing that he was serious, with Kaufman proceeding to read the entire book to them in passive-aggressive frustration, despite most of the audience members' departure. In reality, Kaufman's act was lighthearted and funny: he would read a few pages, after which he would ask the audience if they wanted him to keep reading, or play a record. When the audience chose to hear the record, the record he cued up was a recording of him continuing to read The Great Gatsby from where he had left off. He never actually read (or played) the entirety of The Great Gatsby to an audience, but he sometimes liked to claim that he had.
Sam Simon, who early in his career was a writer and later showrunner for Taxi, stated in a 2013 interview with Marc Maron for the WTF podcast that the story of Kaufman having been generally disruptive on the show was "a complete fiction" largely created by Bob Zmuda. Simon maintained that Zmuda has a vested interest in promoting an out-of-control image of Kaufman. In the interview Simon stated that Kaufman was "completely professional" and that he "told you Tony Clifton was him", but he also conceded that Kaufman would have "loved" Zmuda's version of events.
Another well-known Kaufman character is Tony Clifton, an absurd, audience-abusing lounge singer who began opening for Kaufman at comedy clubs and eventually even performed concerts on his own around the country. Sometimes it was Kaufman performing as Clifton, sometimes it was his brother Michael or Zmuda. For a brief time, it was unclear to some that Clifton was not a real person. News programs interviewed Clifton as Kaufman's opening act, with the mood turning ugly whenever Kaufman's name came up. Kaufman, Clifton insisted, was attempting to ruin Clifton's "good name" in order to make money and become famous.
As a requirement for Kaufman's accepting the offer to star on Taxi, he insisted that Clifton be hired for a guest role on the show as if he were a real person, not a character. After throwing a tantrum on the set, Clifton was fired and escorted from the studio lot by security guards. Much to Kaufman's delight, this incident was reported in the local newspapers.
Carnegie Hall show
At the beginning of an April 1979 performance at New York's Carnegie Hall, Kaufman invited his "grandmother" to watch the show from a chair he had placed at the side of the stage. At the end of the show, she stood up, took her mask off and revealed to the audience that she was actually comedian Robin Williams in disguise. Kaufman also had an elderly woman (named Eleanor Cody Gould) appear to have a heart attack and die on stage, at which point he reappeared on stage wearing a Native American headdress and performed a dance over her body, "reviving" her.
The performance is most famous for Kaufman's ending the show by actually taking the entire audience, in 24 buses, out for milk and cookies. He invited anyone interested to meet him on the Staten Island Ferry the next morning, where the show continued.
Andy's Funhouse/Uncle Andy's Funhouse/The Andy Kaufman Show
The Taxi deal with ABC included giving Kaufman a television special/pilot. He came up with Andy's Funhouse, based on an old routine he had developed while in junior college. The special was taped in 1977 but did not air until August 1979, on ABC. It featured most of Andy's famous gags, including Foreign Man/Latka and his Elvis Presley impersonation, as well as a host of unique segments (including a special appearance by children's television character Howdy Doody and the "Has-been Corner"). There was also a segment that included fake television screen static as part of the gag, which ABC executives were not comfortable with, fearing that viewers would mistake the static for broadcast problems and would change the channel—which was the comic element Kaufman wanted to present. Andy's Funhouse was written by Kaufman, Zmuda, and Mel Sherer, with music by Kaufman.
In March 1980, Kaufman filmed a short segment for an ABC show called Buckshot. The segment was just over six minutes long and was called Uncle Andy's Funhouse. It featured Kaufman as the host of a children's show for adults, complete with a peanut gallery and Tony Clifton puppet.
In 1983 a very similar-looking show to Andy's Funhouse and Uncle Andy's Funhouse was filmed for the PBS's SoundStage program, called the The Andy Kaufman Show. It featured a peanut gallery like the previous shows, and opens in the middle of an interview Kaufman is doing in which he is laughing hysterically. He then proceeds to thank the audience for watching and the credits roll.
In 1981 Kaufman made three appearances on Fridays, a variety show on ABC that was similar to Saturday Night Live. In his first appearance, during a sketch about four people out on a dinner date who excuse themselves to the restroom to smoke marijuana, Kaufman broke character and refused to say his lines.
In response, cast member Michael Richards walked off camera and returned with a set of cue cards and dumped them on the table in front of Kaufman who responded by splashing Richards with water. Co-producer Jack Burns stormed onto the stage, leading to a brawl on camera before the show abruptly cut away to a commercial. It was later revealed that this incident was a staged practical joke that was known to Richards, associate producer Burns, and Kaufman but no one else on the cast or crew.
In continuation of the joke, Kaufman appeared the following week in a videotaped apology to the home viewers. Later that year, Kaufman returned to host Fridays. At one point in the show, he invited a Lawrence Welk Show gospel and standards singer, Kathie Sullivan, on stage to sing a few gospel songs with him and announced that the two were engaged to be married, then talked to the audience about his newfound faith in Jesus (Kaufman was Jewish). That was also a hoax. Later, following a sketch about a drug-abusing pharmacist, Kaufman was supposed to introduce the band the Pretenders. Instead of introducing the band, he delivered a nervous speech about the harmfulness of drugs while the band stood behind him ready to play. After his speech, he informed the audience that he had talked for too long and had to go to a commercial.
Inspired by the theatricality of kayfabe, the staged nature of the sport, and his own tendency to form elaborate hoaxes, Kaufman began wrestling women during his act and was the self-proclaimed "Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World," taking on an aggressive and ridiculous personality based upon the characters invented by professional wrestlers. He offered a $1,000 prize to any woman who could pin him. He employed performance artist Laurie Anderson, a friend of his, as a stooge in this act for a while.
Kaufman initially approached the head of the World Wrestling Federation, Vince McMahon Sr., about bringing his act to the New York wrestling territory. McMahon dismissed Kaufman's idea as the elder McMahon was not about to bring "show business" into his Pro Wrestling society. Kaufman had by then developed a friendship with Wrestling magazine reporter/photographer Bill Apter. After many discussions about Andy wanting to be in the Pro Wrestling business, Apter called Memphis wrestling icon Jerry "The King" Lawler and introduced him to Kaufman by telephone.
Later, Kaufman would finally step into the ring (in the Memphis wrestling circuit) with a man—Lawler himself. Kaufman taunted the residents of Memphis by playing "videos showing residents how to use soap" and proclaiming the city to be "the nation's redneck capital." The ongoing Lawler-Kaufman feud, which often featured Jimmy Hart and other heels in Kaufman's corner, included a number of staged "works", such as a broken neck for Kaufman as a result of Lawler's piledriver and a famous on-air fight on a 1982 episode of Late Night with David Letterman. For some time after that, Kaufman appeared wearing a neck brace, insisting that his injuries were much worse than they really were. Kaufman would continue to defend the Inter-Gender Championship in the Mid-South Coliseum and offered an extra prize, other than the $1,000: that if he were pinned, the woman who pinned him would get to marry him and that Kaufman would also shave his head.
Eventually, the feud and wrestling matches were revealed to have been staged works, and the two to be friends. This was not disclosed until more than 10 years after Kaufman's death, when the Emmy-nominated documentary A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman, aired on NBC in 1995. Jim Carrey, the one who revealed the secret, later went on to play Kaufman in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. In a 1997 interview with the Memphis Flyer, Lawler said he had improvised during their first match and the Letterman incident. Although officials at St. Francis Hospital stated that Kaufman's neck injuries were real, in his 2002 biography It's Good to Be the King ... Sometimes, Lawler detailed how they came up with the angle and kept it quiet. Even though Kaufman's injury was legitimate, the pair pretended that the injury was far more severe than it was. He also said that Kaufman's furious tirade and performance on Letterman was Kaufman's own idea, including when Lawler slapped Kaufman out of his chair. Promoter Jerry Jarrett would later recall that for two years, he would mail paychecks to Kaufman, with payments comparable to what other main-event wrestlers were getting at the time, but Kaufman never cashed any of them.
Kaufman also appeared in the 1983 film My Breakfast with Blassie with professional wrestling personality "Classy" Freddie Blassie, a parody of the art film My Dinner With Andre. The film was directed by Johnny Legend, who employed his sister Lynne Margulies as one of the women who appears in the film. Margulies met Kaufman for the first time on camera, and they later became a couple, living together until Kaufman's death.
Although Kaufman made a name for himself as a guest on NBC's Saturday Night Live, his first prime time appearances were several guest spots as the "Foreign Man" on the Dick Van Dyke variety show in 1976. He also appeared four times on The Tonight Show from 1976 to 1978, and three times on The Midnight Special in 1972, 1977, and 1981. In the 1977 edition, Kaufman performed a song titled "I Trusted You" (which features only those three words, repeated over and over, as lyrics), while in 1981 he is shown sitting in the audience during a performance by Tony Clifton (although it was obvious Kaufman was not in the audience during the sketch).
His SNL appearances started with the first show, on October 11, 1975. He made 16 SNL appearances in all, doing routines from his comedy act, such as the Mighty Mouse singalong, Foreign Man, and the Elvis impersonation. After he angered the audience with his female-wrestling routine, Kaufman in January 1983 made a pre-taped appearance (his 16th) asking the audience if he should ever appear on the show again, saying he would honor their decision. SNL ran a phone vote, and 195,544 people voted to "Dump Andy" while 169,186 people voted to "Keep Andy". Kaufman never again appeared on the show live, but Saturday Night Live did air a tape of him thanking those who had voted for him to appear again.
During the SNL episode with the phone poll, many of the cast-members stated their admiration for Kaufman's work. After Eddie Murphy read both numbers, he said, "Now Andy Kaufman is a friend of mine. Keep that in mind when you call. I don't want to have to punch nobody in America in the face", and Mary Gross read the Dump Andy number at a rate so fast that audiences were unable to catch it. The final tally was read by Gary Kroeger to a cheering audience. As the credits rolled, announcer Don Pardo said, "This is Don Pardo saying, 'I voted for Andy Kaufman.'"
He made numerous guest spots on other television programs hosted by or starring celebrities like Johnny Cash (1979 Christmas special), Dick Van Dyke, Dinah Shore, Rodney Dangerfield, Cher, Dean Martin, Redd Foxx, Mike Douglas, Dick Clark, and Joe Franklin.[episode needed]
He appeared in his first theatrical film God Told Me To in 1976, in which he portrayed a murderous policeman. He appeared in two other theatrical films, including the 1980 film In God We Tru$t, in which he played a televangelist, and the 1981 film Heartbeeps, in which he played a robot.
Laurie Anderson worked alongside Kaufman for a time in the 1970s, acting as a sort of straight man in a number of his Manhattan and Coney Island performances. One of these performances included getting on a ride that people stand in and get spun around. After everyone was strapped in, Kaufman would start saying how he did not want to be on the ride in a panicked tone and eventually cry. Anderson later described these performances in her 1995 album, The Ugly One With the Jewels.
At Park West Theatre in Chicago on March 26, 1982, Kaufman performed stage hypnosis where he induced local DJ Steve Dahl to urinate while sitting in a large box. Other staged inductions included Bob Zmuda's childhood friend Joe Troiani mimicking the behavior of a pig and longtime friend Bill Karmia dressed as a police officer arresting Kaufman for inducing public nudity with a woman he had hypnotized.
In 1984, Andy made his final professional appearance on a TV show called "The Top." Executive Producer was Harold Ramis, producer was Paul Flattery and it was directed by David Jove (aka David Sniderman). It starred Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield with music from Cyndi Lauper, The Romantics and The Hollies. Cyndi Lauper performed "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "True Colors," The Hollies performed "Stop In The Name Of Love" and The Romantics performed "Talking In Your Sleep" and "What I Like About You". Kaufman was not the original host - that was Chevy Chase, who - dressed as a "punk" of the era—got into a physical altercation with an audience member during the opening monologue and immediately left the taping. Ramis got Andy to shoot the host segments at a later date.
Kaufman never married. He had a daughter, Maria Bellu-Colonna, who was born in 1969 out of wedlock to a high-school girlfriend and placed for adoption. Bellu-Colonna learned in 1992 that she was Kaufman's daughter when she traced her biological roots by winning a petition of the State of New York for her biological mother's surname. She soon reunited with her mother, grandfather, uncle, and aunt. Kaufman has a granddaughter who briefly appeared in Man on the Moon, playing his sister as a young child.
He met his partner Lynne Margulies on the set of My Breakfast With Blassie in 1982 and they remained together until Kaufman's death in 1984. She later co-directed the 1989 Kaufman wrestling compilation I'm From Hollywood, as well as published the 2009 book Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts!.
On December 5, 1969, Kaufman learned Transcendental Meditation at college. According to a BBC article, Kaufman used transcendental meditation 'to build confidence and take his act to comedy clubs'. For the rest of his life, Kaufman meditated and performed yoga three hours a day. He trained as a teacher of transcendental meditation in Majorca, Spain, from February to June 1971.
Illness and death
At Thanksgiving dinner on Long Island, New York, in November 1983, several family members openly expressed worry about Kaufman's persistent coughing. He claimed that he had been coughing for nearly a month, visited his doctor, and been told that nothing was wrong. When he returned to Los Angeles, he consulted a physician, then checked himself into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a series of medical tests. A few days later, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of lung cancer.
After audiences were shocked by his gaunt appearance during January 1984 performances, Kaufman acknowledged that he had an unspecified illness which he hoped to cure with "natural medicine" including a diet of all fruits and vegetables, among other measures. Kaufman received palliative radiotherapy, but by then the cancer had spread from his lungs to his brain. His last resort was "psychic surgery", a New Age "procedure" bearing no scientific merit, in Baguio, Philippines, in March 1984.
Kaufman had often spoken of faking his own death as a grand hoax, with rumors persisting, often fueled by sporadic appearances of Kaufman's character Tony Clifton at comedy clubs following the comedian's death. In 2013, responding to an outbreak of rumor following the appearance of an actress who claimed to be Kaufman's daughter and that the comedian was still alive, Los Angeles County Coroner's office re-released Kaufman's death certificate.
"Clifton" performed a year after Kaufman's death at The Comedy Store benefit in Kaufman's honor, with members of his entourage in attendance, and during the 1990s made several appearances at Los Angeles nightclubs. Jim Carrey, who portrayed Kaufman in Man On The Moon, stated on the NBC special Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman that the person doing the Clifton character was Bob Zmuda. Kaufman's official website states that his death was not a hoax.
In 2014 Zmuda and Lynne Margulies, Kaufman's girlfriend at the time of his death, co-authored the book Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, which states that Kaufman's death was indeed a prank, that Kaufman remained alive and would soon be revealing himself as his upper limit on the "prank" was 30 years.
A feature-length documentary, Kaufman Lives, is in production as of the mid-2010s. It covers the legend that Kaufman faked his own death. The film is directed by the English artist John Lundberg and Roland Denning.
Legacy and tributes
On March 29, 1995, NBC aired A Comedy Salute To Andy Kaufman. This special featured clips of many of Kaufman's performances, as well as commentary from some of his friends, family, and colleagues.
Comedian Richard Lewis in A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman said of him: "No one has ever done what Andy did, and did it as well, and no one will ever. Because he did it first. So did Buster Keaton, so did Andy." Carl Reiner recalled his distinction in the comedy world:
Did Andy influence comedy? No. Because nobody's doing what he did. Jim Carrey was influenced—not to do what Andy did, but to follow his own drummer. I think Andy did that for a lot of people. Follow your own drumbeat. You didn't have to go up there and say 'take my wife, please.' You could do anything that struck you as entertaining. It gave people freedom to be themselves." Reiner also said of Kaufman: "Nobody can see past the edges, where the character begins and he ends.
Jim Carrey portrayed Kaufman in the 1999 biopic film Man on the Moon, directed by Miloš Forman; the film took its title from the band R.E.M.'s song of the same name. R.E.M. also did the score for the film and recorded another Kaufman tribute song, "The Great Beyond." Carrey's portrayal was met with critical acclaim, earning him a Golden Globe Award for his performance. Forman named his twin sons, born in 1998, Andrew and James, after Kaufman and Carrey.
Andy Kaufman is one of the featured celebrities in the 2005 children's book Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes.
At The Comedy Store comedy club in Los Angeles, California there is a neon likeness of Kaufman on display. The club also features on their menu the "Andy Kaufman Special," which consists of "two cookies and a glass of ice cold milk."
German filmmaker Maren Ade stated that her 2016 film Toni Erdmann, which was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, was partially inspired by Andy Kaufman and his Tony Clifton character.
Since 2004, The Andy Kaufman Award competition has been held annually as "a showcase for promising cutting-edge artists with fresh and unconventional material, for those willing to take risks with an audience, and for those who do not define themselves by the typical conventions of comedy."
|June 1972||Kennedy At Night||local Chicago show; Kaufman's first appearance as Elvis|
|June 6, 1974||The Dean Martin Comedy World||Kaufman's national television debut|
|June 20, 1974||The Joe Franklin Show|
|October 11, 1975||Saturday Night Live||first episode of SNL; performed "Mighty Mouse"|
|October 25, 1975||Saturday Night Live||performed "Pop Goes The Weasel"|
|November 8, 1975||Saturday Night Live||Foreign Man|
|January 17, 1976||Monty Hall's Variety Hour|
|February 28, 1976||Saturday Night Live||performed "Old MacDonald Had A Farm"|
|June 23, 1976||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Steve Allen guest-hosted|
|September 20, 1976 – December 30, 1976||Van Dyke & Company||Kaufman appeared in 10 weekly episodes|
|January 12, 1977||The Mike Douglas Show|
|January 15, 1977||Saturday Night Live||Foreign Man/Elvis|
|January 17, 1977||Dinah!||Foreign Man|
|January 21, 1977||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson|
|February 7, 1977||Dinah!||Kaufman sings "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss"|
|March 3, 1977||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson|
|March 4, 1977||The Midnight Special||sings "I Trusted You"|
|May 30, 1977||Stick Around||pilot for sitcom (aired once); was filmed March 29, 1977|
|1977||The 2nd Annual HBO Young Comedians Show|
|August 4, 1977||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Elvis and drumming|
|August 15–19, 1977||The Hollywood Squares||Kaufman appeared on one week's worth of shows; was filmed in June 1977|
|September 15, 1977||The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour||aired November 3, 1977|
|October 15, 1977||Saturday Night Live||sings "Oklahoma," "Oh, The Cow Goes Moo," and does Elvis|
|December 10, 1977||Saturday Night Live||Foreign Man|
|January 3, 1978||Variety '77: The Year In Entertainment||plays congas, sings, dances, and attempts to levitate a woman|
|February 20, 1978||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Steve Martin guest-hosted; Kaufman's last Tonight Show appearance|
|March 11, 1978||Saturday Night Live||reads The Great Gatsby|
|March 14, 1978||Bananaz||local Columbus, Ohio television show|
|April 11, 1978||The Mike Douglas Show|
|September 12, 1978 – June 15, 1983||Taxi||production on the sitcom began on July 5, 1978; last episode was filmed February 18, 1983|
|November 21, 1978||The Dating Game||as contestant "Baji Kimran"|
|November 29, 1978||Dick Clark's Live Wednesday|
|February 24, 1979||Saturday Night Live||yodels|
|April 3, 1979||Cher...And Other Fantasies|
|June 30, 1979||The Lisa Hartman Show)||(the date for this special has often been incorrectly given as 1976)|
|August 20, 1979||The Tomorrow Show||Kaufman's first wrestling match with a woman on national television|
|August 28, 1979||Good Morning America|
|August 28, 1979||Andy's Funhouse||ABC special; originally taped July 15, 1977|
|September 19, 1979||Dinah!||drunken, egg-throwing Tony Clifton|
|October 20, 1979||Saturday Night Live||wrestles for the first time on SNL|
|November 17, 1979||Saturday Night Live|
|November 22, 1979||Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade|
|December 6, 1979||A Johnny Cash Christmas||Foreign Man/Elvis/Santa|
|December 13, 1979||The Merv Griffin Show|
|December 22, 1979||Saturday Night Live||appears with "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers; wrestles women|
|January 25, 1980||The Merv Griffin Show||aired January 29, 1980|
|June 12, 1980||Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall||the April 1979 concert was broadcast on Showtime|
|July 18, 1980||Uncle Andy's Funhouse (Buckshot segment)||filmed March 1, 1980|
|September 26, 1980||The Merv Griffin Show||appeared with Marty Feldman|
|October 14, 1980||The David Letterman Show||tells Letterman he's been sleeping in doorways; Letterman abruptly cuts him off|
|October 15, 1980||The David Letterman Show||shows up disheveled; begs audience for money|
|January 23, 1981||The Midnight Special||Hosted; performed much of his repertoire|
|February 20, 1981||Fridays||Kaufman hosts; the infamous fight episode|
|February 27, 1981||Fridays||videotaped apology from Kaufman|
|March 3–6, 1981||Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters||was taped in March; unclear when or if Kaufman's segment aired*|
|March 25, 1981||The Midnight Special||introduces Tony Clifton|
|April 16, 1981||The Slycraft Hour||NYC cable access show with Bob Pagani|
|September 18, 1981||Fridays||Kaufman introduces his fiance, Kathie Sullivan; they sing & he discusses his Christianity|
|October 2, 1981||The Merv Griffin Show||appeared as Tony Clifton; was taped June 8, 1981|
|October 28, 1981||Good Morning America|
|October 28, 1981||The Merv Griffin Show||appeared as Tony Clifton; was taped August 31, 1981|
|October 29, 1981||An Evening At The Improv||hosted|
|December 11, 1981||The Merv Griffin Show|
|January 30, 1982||Saturday Night Live||in a sketch as Elvis|
|February 17, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman||Kaufman's first appearance on Late Night; talks about doing Elvis after his death; wrestling talk|
|February 18, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman||Tony Clifton (thought at the time to be Kaufman; later revealed to be Zmuda)|
|March 30, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman|
|April 1, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman||brief appearance in greenroom; promotes Lawler match|
|April 14, 1982||Good Morning America|
|April 15, 1982||The John Davidson Show|
|May 7, 1982||Hour Magazine||aired May 11, 1982; Kaufman appears with his brother and sister|
|May 15, 1982||Saturday Night Live||appears with Taxi castmates; discusses the Lawler wrestling match|
|May 17, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman|
|June 25, 1982||The Merv Griffin Show||Orson Welles guest-hosts; Welles expresses his fondness for Taxi|
|July 28, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman||the infamous Lawler/Kaufman slap fight|
|September 17, 1982||The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show||Tony Clifton|
|September 30, 1982||Catch a Rising Star's 10th Anniversary||filmed August 19, 1982|
|October 23, 1982||Saturday Night Live||Kaufman was due to appear in this episode, but was cut by producer Dick Ebersol.|
|October 30, 1982||Saturday Night Live||Kaufman was due to appear in this episode, but was cut due to showing up late.|
|November 17, 1982||Late Night with David Letterman||dressed in turban, he sings "Rose Marie"|
|November 20, 1982||Saturday Night Live||Kaufman is voted off the show, 195,544 to 169,186|
|January 7, 1983||Late Night with David Letterman||appears with his parents; calls grandmother in Florida|
|January 22, 1983||Saturday Night Live||videotape of Kaufman, thanking viewers who voted for him|
|February 23, 1983||Late Night with David Letterman||appears with Freddie Blassie; sings Jambalaya (On The Bayou)|
|May 2, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|May 26, 1983||Up Close with Tom Cottle||interview|
|July 9, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|July 15, 1983||The Andy Kaufman Show||PBS Soundstage|
|July 16, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|July 23, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|July 30, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|August 6, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|August 13, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|September 22, 1983||Late Night with David Letterman||introduces his adopted children; does Elvis for the final time|
|November 7, 1983||Superstars of Comedy Salute the Improv||aired February 12, 1984; does laundry, plays congas, and sings "Rock Island" from The Music Man|
|November 17, 1983||Late Night with David Letterman||plays scene from The Big Chill; brings adopted kids on again; final Letterman appearance|
|November 19, 1983||CWA Wrestling|
|November 29, 1983||Rodney Dangerfield: I Can't Take It No More||Filmed November 7, 1983|
|January 26, 1984||The Top||Kaufman's final television appearance|
|1976||God Told Me To||Police Officer|
|1980||In God We Tru$t||Armageddon T. Thunderbird|
|1983||My Breakfast with Blassie||"Himself"|
|1985||Elayne Boosler: Party of One||(Archived voice)|
|1989||I'm From Hollywood||"Himself"|
|1999||Man on the Moon (film)||(Archived singing)|
- Kaufman, Andy (1999), The Huey Williams Story, Zilch Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781930410008
- Kaufman, Andy (2000), God...and Other Plays, Zilch Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1930410018
- Kaufman, Andy (2000), Poetry and Stories, Zilch Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1930410034
- Zehme, Bill (1999), Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman, Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0-385-33371-9
- Zmuda, Bob; Hansen, Matthew Scott (1999), Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells All, Back Bay Books. ISBN 0-316-61098-4
- Hecht, Julie (2001), Was This Man a Genius? Talks with Andy Kaufman, Vintage Books. ISBN 0-375-50457-5
- Keller, Florian (2005), Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream, University Of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816646031
- Margulies, Lynne; Zmuda, Bob (2009), Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts!, Process. ISBN 1934170089
- Margulies, Lynne; Zmuda, Bob (2014), Andy Kaufman, The Truth Finally, BenBella Books. ISBN 9781940363059
- "Certificate of Death, State of California: Andrew G. Kaufman". Country of Los Angeles Resigtrar-Recorder/County Clerk via TheSmokingGun.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Brennan, Sandra. "Full Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
I am not a comic, I have never told a joke. ... The comedian's promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him. ... My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can. ... They say, 'Oh wow, Andy Kaufman, he's a really funny guy.'
- "Andy Kaufman - the Song and Dance Man". BBC. June 29, 2003. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Prial, Frank J. (May 18, 1984). "ANDY KAUFMAN, A COMEDIAN KNOWN FOR UNORTHODOX SKITS". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Shales, Tom (May 23, 1984). "Kaufman's many faces made him one of a kind". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Zehme, Bill (1999). Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman. Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780385333719. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- ""The Real Man on the Moon Talks" by Kaufman's father". Andykaufman.jvlnet.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- List of Alumni at college website
- Shepard, Richard F. (July 11, 1974). "Songs and a New Comedian Make Lively Cabaret". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Drash, Wayne (April 7, 2012). "The Great Ruse: The comedic genius who rocked wrestling". CNN. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Andy Kaufman at Yahoo! Movies
- SNL: The Complete First Season, 1975–1976. DVD recording.
- "Andy Kaufman Oral History", interviews with Don Steinberg, originally published in short form in GQ Magazine, December 1999.
- Taxi, Season 3, Episode 20, ' 'Latka the Playboy' ', IMDB
- Maron, Marc (May 16, 2013). "Episode 389 - Sam Simon". WTF Podcast with Marc Maron.
- Carter, Betsy (July 1, 1979). "Hide-'n'-seek in Andy Kaufman's fun house". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Comic Encore: Milk, Cookies For Audience". The Ottawa Citizen. April 28, 1979. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Wickstrom, Andy (August 3, 1989). "Andy Kaufman Still Surprises In A 1977 Video". The Philadelphia Enquirer. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- Elisberg, Robert J. (July 22, 2013). "Pal Mel". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- Arnott, Susan L. (July 18, 1980). "The Television Picture: What's Special...". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Andy Kaufman on Fridays from FridaysFan. Funnyordie.com. February 11, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- "Michael Richards 'Speaking Freely' transcript". Recorded February 28, 2002, in Aspen, Colorado
- Burton, Alex (February 25, 2000). "Kaufman Was My Hoax Fiance; The Taxi star pulled some of the funniest stunts on US TV, but his fake engagement fooled the world". Daily Record. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- Laurie Anderson, Stories from the Nerve Bible (Perennial 1993)
- kaufman-lawler at YouTube
- "ANDY KAUFMAN IN NEW FRAY WITH WRESTLER ON TV SHOW". The New York Times. July 30, 1982. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- "The Kaufman Lawler Feud: Chapter 2 - The Fourth One". January 13, 2009.
- Collins, Scott (November 15, 2013). "Jerry Lawler: Why his Andy Kaufman wrestling match still resonates". Los Angeles Times.
- "(Title unknown)". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online.
- David, Collin. "Andy Kaufman, The Action Figure". Collectors Quest. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Alan Graham (producer) (2008-02-21). The Passion of Andy Kaufman (SWF) (Archive footage). Subterranean Cinema. Event occurs at 2:20:00. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Alan Graham (producer) (2008-02-21). The Passion of Andy Kaufman (SWF) (Archive footage). Subterranean Cinema. Event occurs at 2:10:55–2:20:33. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Dowd, A.A. (March 14, 2014). "Larry Cohen's God is a deranged God". A.V. Club. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- Corry, John (September 26, 1980). "A Monk Meets Huckster and God". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- Smith, Stacy Jenel (January 2, 1982). "Andy Kaufman: His Humor is Frustrating, Strange". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
- Stern, Amanda (January 2012). "Laurie Anderson". The Believer. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- Del Signore, John (November 8, 2007). "Deborah Harry, Recording Artist". Gothamist. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Rich, Frank (April 21, 1983). "Stage: "Teaneck Tanzi," Comedy From Britain". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- ""Teaneck Tanzi" Closes". The New York Times. April 22, 1983. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Dietz, Dan (2016). The Complete Book of 1980s Broadway Musicals. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442260917. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- "Maria Colonna Kaufman- Taxi Actor Andy Kaufman’s real daughter". Daily Entertainment News. November 15, 2013
- "Latka's Legacy". People. 3 April 1995.
- "Waking Andy Kaufman". The Village Voice. 9 November 1999.
- Margulies, Lynn; Zmuda, Bob. (December 1, 2009). Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts!, a book containing the letters sent to Kaufman challenging him to wrestle. Process Publishing, 2009
- Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts!. Amazon.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- "The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman". Andykaufman.jvlnet.com. October 3, 1995. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- Goldberg, Philip (May 15, 2014). "Remembering Andy Kaufman 30 Years on". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- "Andy Kaufman - the Song and Dance Man". BBC. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- Carpenter, Les (May 16, 2004). "Squiggy is in the house: 'Laverne and Shirley' star now M's scout". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- "Andy Kaufman dead of lung cancer". The Nevada Daily Mail. Associated Press. May 17, 1984. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- "Comedian Andy Kaufman dead at 36". The Evening News. Newburgh & Beacon, New York. Associated Press. May 17, 1984. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Drash, Wayne (November 15, 2013). "Andy Kaufman's brother says he is victim of hoax". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- "Shocker: Andy Kaufman’s "Daughter" Is Actually A New York Actress Whose Real Dad Is A Doctor". TheSmokingGun.com. November 14, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- Blake, Meredith. "Andy Kaufman's brother now claims he was the victim of a hoax". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- "The Last(?) Days of Andy Kaufman". Andykaufman.jvlnet.com. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Getlen, Larry. "Friend: Andy Kaufman is still alive". New York Post. Retrieved 2014-10-05.
- "'Kaufman Lives – Official site.".
- Boosler, Elayne (November 1984). "Andy: A farewell to Andy Kaufman by one who shared the ride". Esquire. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- McLellan, Dennis (January 28, 2000). "Boosler on Kaufman: Funny, Sweet, Bright". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Evans, Paul (October 29, 1992). "Automatic For The People (Review)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- O'Connor, John J. (March 29, 1995). "TELEVISION REVIEW; Andy Kaufman's Beloved Antics". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman (TV production). NBC. 29 March 1995.
- Andy Kaufman: 'Nobody can see past the edges', Kay Gardella, New York Daily News, Nov 28, 1982
- "R.E.M. To Score ‘Man On The Moon’". MTV News. March 1, 1999. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- https://milosforman.com/en/about/biography#!prettyPhoto Milos Forman's Official Website.
- "The best crooner scene: Man on the moon". The Guardian. May 25, 2000. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Itzkoff, Dave (May 10, 2013). "Album of Unreleased Andy Kaufman Material Coming in July". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Elder, Jennifer; Thomas, Marc (2005), Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1843108151
- "Interview: Cindy Williams talks Laverne & Shirley, Andy Kaufman and her TV career". MeTV. October 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Williams, Cindy (2015), Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life, Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 1630760129
- "Submissions Now Being Accepted for 2015 Andy Kaufman Award". BroadwayWorld.com. September 3, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- "Xyrena Announces Official Andy Kaufman Milk & Cookies Fragrance". PR Newswire. October 7, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- "There's Andy Kaufman perfume, in case you wanted to smell like Andy Kaufman". Mashable. October 8, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- Dargis, Manohla (May 22, 2016). "The Director of ‘Toni Erdmann’ Savors Her Moment at Cannes". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- Su, Zhuo-Ning (May 19, 2016). "Maren Ade on ‘Toni Erdmann,’ Being Inspired By Andy Kaufman, and Finding a Dramatic Balance". The Film Stage. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- Roxborough, Scott (May 12, 2016). "Cannes: 'Toni Erdmann' Director Maren Ade Wants a Subsidy Quota for Women Filmmakers (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- "The Andy Kaufman Award Website".
- Holsopple, Barbara (June 6, 1974). "It's Shocking How Many People Can Not Do Comedy". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Brownfield, Paul (January 19, 2002). "With Strings Attached: A guitar belonging to the late Andy Kaufman is up for auction on EBay, put up by a former New York talk-show host.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Hill, Doug (March 2, 1986). "First "Saturday Night Live" was a wacky close call". Sunday Star-News. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- "Van Dyke & Company: The Complete Series". Amazon. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- "Tonight On Television". Ocala Star-Banner. March 3, 1977. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- "T.V. Scout". The Sumter Daily Item. November 3, 1977. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Harrison, Bernie (June 30, 1979). "Saturday's Highlights". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- "Shoving Match No Accident". Associated Press/Observer-Reporter. February 23, 1981. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- "TV show continues make-believe dispute". Associated Press/Gadsden Times. February 28, 1981. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- "Simon, Garfunkel reunite Saturday". Wire Service Reports/Eugene Register-Guard. September 18, 1981. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- McLeod, Kembrew (May 11, 2012). "Atomic Andy Kaufman: The Comedian That Loved to Bomb". Little Village. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- "TV listings". St. Petersburg Times. May 11, 1982. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- Battaglio, Stephen (November 11, 2014). "The Biz: Revisiting The Merv Griffin Show". TV Guide. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Kornbluth, Josh (May 22, 1984). "Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
- Pouncey, T.E. (June 22, 2008). "Conversations with GoD: Larry Cohen". Geeks of Doom. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Andy Kaufman|