Talk:Andy Kaufman

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WikiWorld logo.JPG Andy Kaufman was featured in a WikiWorld cartoon:
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Inter-gender wrestling section[edit]

This section contains absolutely no sources and complete speculation. I plan on deleting it entirely if no sources are provided within one week. Stanley011 17:45, 27 August 2006 (UTC).

I just saw Man On The Moon, and it appears to me that many of the anecdotes from Kaufman's life, are actually taken from the film (F Scot Fitzgerald, Clifton in Taxi), but no-on knows how far the film was true to its subject. --
I don't see any point in deleting the section altogether. What exactly is mere speculation in your opinion? You never know the complete truth when it comes to Andy, but from what is known today, the section is accurate. I have added an article from "the Other Arena" and a Memphis newspaper in which Lawler is interviewed about the whole story to the link section. 08:22, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Jerry Lawlers book was cited. In an interview on Dave Meltzers radio show Lawler admitted the whole thing, including the Letterman incident, were scripted. Naturally, all of the actual wrestling appearances were worked. DJTodd 20 September 2006.

This entire bio has been sanitized. No hint of the rage that often erupted over his performance art. It's not clearly expressed that when Andy died he had alienated so many people, his death was widely treated with indifference or as another hoax. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

DNA testing[edit]

The resurface of 'Kaufman' and his subsequent DNA testing under his prior solicitor and all that crap that went down with the media where he rocked up, was like "LOL, HAI!", took a DNA test, said he didn't want to be contacted any further and vanished again doesn't have a mention in this article .. why? Even if it wasn't him, it was the most notable 'return from the dead' saga since Christ. With more evidence too, if there was a DNA test done, as signed under statutory declaration by his lawyers and the testers, and distributed around the media? Can anyone fill in the blanks? Jachin (talk) 01:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Personal life[edit]

Shouldn't there be some information this page about his personal life? Wife (was he married), kids (I saw a grandchild mentioned somewhere online), other family, friends? Agerard (talk) 06:47, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

There should be such information on the article. He never married; he had one child, who was put up for adoption. He had a brother and a sister. He predeceased both parents; mother is now dead, father is alive. Nietzsche 2 (talk) 01:04, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

"...traced her biological roots by winning a petition of the state of New York..." This wording sounds very strange to me. Could we say "...traced her biological roots after petitioning the state of New York..."? Lisapaloma (talk) 15:06, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Regaring Reference 14, this is incorrect. I grew up with Andy, and we went to the same high school (Great Neck North), where we attended many of the same classes and dated in our junior year. First off, serious correction to the citation. Olatunje did NOT come to our high school but was playing at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadow when we were high school juniors. For those who do not know, Olatunje played a range of drums from a small conga (NOT bongo, as in the article) drum to an enormous one over 6 feet high. Andy was anxious to see him perform so we went together. We arrived in the late morning and attended ALL of Olatunje's performances until the Fair closed for the day, perhaps around 11 p.m. Throughout every one of Olatunje's performances, Andy would jump up and down in time with Olatunje's jumping up and down to reach his largest conga drum. Somewhere in the early evening, after I don't know how many performances, Olatunje finally invited Andy up to play the drums with him. Andy was thrilled, of course. Arriving at the L.I.R.R. station we discovered we'd missed the last train back to Great Neck. We hung around the station platform until the first train arrived early the following morning - around 5. The biggest joke was my mother, who had waited up for me and was furious. I was only 16 and had an 11 p.m. curfew. "WHAT WERE YOU DOING OUT SO LATE?!" "I was at the Fair with Andy, Mom. We missed the last train back and had to wait until the first one arrived. Then I had to walk back from the station." "DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF THINGS I'VE BEEN WORRYING ABOUT?!" "Mom," I said, "with ANDY????" His "innocent little boy" image was already a predominant persona that everyone was aware of.--Annaclewis (talk) 03:04, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

I don't see any reference or citation in the Wikipedia entry about Andy's reading of The Great Gatsby, which is also depicted by Jim Carrey in The Man in the Moon. The joke behind the scene is that the book was required reading at our high school, and the Kings Point area of Great Neck is the accepted location of Gatsby's house (West Egg). Everything Fitzgerald describes and criticizes was true of Great Neck during our time as well, and our hippie generation therefore felt strongly supported and encouraged by the book. The teacher who was most popular among us and who taught the book, whom Andy refers to in the film, was Henry Reznick, perhaps Andy's earliest adult admirer, who appreciated his humor when all the rest of us just thought he was cute but nuts.--Annaclewis (talk) 03:04, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Obviously these are direct personal recollections so I cannot cite any other source, but if you ask anyone who went to high school with Andy, they'll confirm the truth of them. I mention them because there is a lot of talk about just how 'meshuga" Andy genuinely was. Personally, though I knew him and was his confidante for over a year, I could never figure it out. --Annaclewis (talk) 03:04, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Krist Novoselic:Trivia[edit]

"Strangely, Kaufman and Krist Novoselic in many pictures, look almost indentical. [1]" -- This is trivia at best and certainly doesn't need to be in the lead. -- (talk) 22:05, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

2008 return?[edit]

Should we put up the rumours about Kaufman's alleged apparent return? Some people have been receiving Andy Kaufman figures with an e-mail address. Others have been visiting There's a YouTube documentary coming up soon about Kaufman's return. A few other notable occurrences have happened, and the whole thing was covered on a Current TV news pod not so long ago. It seems to smell of hoax, but it's a rather elaborate one if you ask me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Lookalike ?[edit]

This guru looks a _lot_ like Andy: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Andy's Funhouse availability[edit]

Has Andy's TV special ever been released on DVD? Shown again? Are there any known copies, or anything? I can't find anywhere on the 'net. @_@ The entire show is up on YouTube, but I was wondering if it was ever officially released to the public, beyond its initial airing? - (talk) 17:42, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

How did he contract lung cancer?[edit]

To have lung cancer that young is rare - what caused it? Nietzsche 2 (talk) 01:13, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

It's quite likely that no specific cause can be found. Cancer occurs randomly. It's not like a contagious disease that's invariably caused by a specific infection. Young people get lung cancer less often than old people, and non-smokers get it less often than smokers, but the risk isn't zero for anybody. In two words, "shit happens." (talk) 04:45, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Watching a documentary, "The death of Andy Kaufman", they were interviewing Kaufman's brother who stated that Andy did smoke in high school. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:BD07:A60:ACD7:E233:FABF:1EE8 (talk) 18:45, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Claims of resurfacing[edit]

The Claims of resurfacing section is tagged with an original research template. Does that mean everything in that section is completely made up or is there some truth to it, but it needs citations? By the way, this talk page is getting to be really long. --Crackthewhip775 (talk) 02:04, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Man on the Moon[edit]

Perhaps the movie "Man on the Moon" should be mentioned earlier in the article and also clearly state something along the lines of "Man on the Moon (1999) is a biopic of the American entertainer Andy Kaufman." Currently the article seems to assume this is common knowledge. Kwinky (talk) 14:29, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree, I find it very strange that Man in the Moon is not more prominent, it is almost mentioned as an afterthought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Posting promotional material[edit]

Please don't continue to try to use the Andy Kaufman article as a promotional platform for your website This is the same website that attempted to do this late last October in this article, touting that Kaufman had "re-emerged" and was holding a press conference near Rutgers. See October 28, 2008 in the articles history for instance. Wikipedia should not be used to drive traffic to a website for promotional purposes. thanks Deconstructhis (talk) 19:25, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Elvis' tapes[edit]

The article says:

When Kaufman visited Graceland after Presley's death, it was discovered that in the singer's home were several VHS tapes of Kaufman.

This smells very fishy. Elvis died in August 16, 1977, just a month after the VHS was introduced in the USA. One month to record several tapes of Kaufman? Not likely. Maybe Kaufman was mistaken, and Elvis actually used some older format like Betamax or U-matic. Or maybe the information is just bogus; it's troubling that the provided source [1] does not mention those tapes. -- Stormwatch (talk) 03:15, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Jim Carrey[edit]

Please remove Jim Carrey's filmography from the bottom of A.K.'s page. (talk) 23:03, 28 September 2009 (UTC)


Andy Kaufman appears not to be listed in the Social Security Death Index. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Category: TM practitioner[edit]

I just added this category to the article. I am surprised that this aspect of Andy's life is not already in the article. Shall we add something? Here are some sources. I can find more if you need them. [2] [3] [4] [5]

  • From the BBC link: "In college, Andy discovered a movement called 'transcendental meditation'. He used it to build confidence and take his act to comedy clubs. For the rest of his life, he practiced this, meditating and doing yoga three hours a day. He was a very important figure in it, starting in the sixties when it first came to America"

-- KbobTalk 21:45, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

10 years vs 20 years claim[edit]

A quick reminder to the editor editing from, please keep in mind that Wiki's policies indicate that we should extend "good faith" in our dealings with others here in the encyclopedia. I was already aware of the distinction between "diagnosis" and "prognosis" conceptually; to tell you the truth, the reason I reverted it in my copy edit was because in my opinion, it rang as a little attenuated in the context it's found in; to each their own. To me it reflects a difference of writing/editing styles between the two of us more than anything else and I don't have any problem with it remaining. However, I believe the "10 years vs 20 years" point is somewhat different. Before it was initially changed (and I changed it back) the article claimed "Kaufman himself even said that if he were to fake his death, he would return 10 years later", which was then altered to read "...20 years later", but was changed without providing a reference to support the alteration. It's important to remember that when changing specific figures in an article, especially those figures that have stood for quite awhile; that a specific supporting citation should be included with the change. Otherwise other editors are left in a quandary about whether or not the new figure is simply made up, this is especially true when the edits are made through anonymous IPs, not totally fair perhaps, but certainly a common practice. In this instance, there actually are references which point toward the 10 year figure rather than 20. Here's one for instance, from a New York Times source [6]. (I intend to add that one to the article) That doesn't necessarily mean that's the final word on the subject, but it is a reliable source in support of the 10 year figure. I've also encountered sources online that do point to a 20 year figure, as a reflection of Andy purportedly changing his mind from his initial 10 year estimate of the required time frame necessary for the hypothetical "project" upward, but to tell you the truth, I'm kind of dubious about their reliability. What figure does Zmuda's own 2001 book cite? If you have a copy of it, the citation would make a useful addition as reference for the higher number. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 05:47, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Kaufman Cabs[edit]

In the Grand Theft Auto video game series, there is a cab company that goes by the name Kaufman Cabs. Could this be a reference to Kaufman and his work on the show Taxi?Cathys Son (talk) 22:54, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I suppose it's possible; but "Kaufman" is also a fairly common name in some parts of the country. Regardless; before it could be added to the article, a reliable source would have to be provided that indicates the name being used in the game is referring specifically to Andy Kaufman. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 01:01, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Relationship with Lynne Margulies[edit]

Just finished watching Man in the Moon, where his relationship with Lynne Margulies is a major part. However there is no mention of any romantic relationships in this article or on his imdb page, was the relationship invented or exaggerated for the movie? If it's true, why isn't it mentioned? How they met is an interesting story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 21 July 2010 (UTC)


"While often referred to as a comedian, Kaufman did not consider himself one"

Since this is the case, is it accurate to list as his occupation, "Actor/Comedian" ?

I'm not sure that I have any better suggestions. Maybe "Actor/Performance Artist" ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

He should be listed as Master Prankster Nomotopo (talk) 17:03, 15 April 2011 (UTC)


How does a biopic about Kaufman qualify as trivia? When it comes to popular culture, the usual standard I've seen is that mere mentions are trivial, but that songs, books, etc that are about the subject are non-trivial.   Will Beback  talk  01:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Biopic isn't trivial. The rest are just one-off mentions and are unsourced. Kill them or find a source. Ten Pound Hammer, his otters and a clue-bat • (Otters want attention) 02:01, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
You're looking for a source that says a song titled "Andy Kaufman" is about Andy Kaufman?   Will Beback  talk  02:12, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm looking for a reason to include every song that mentions him in some way. Is the song individually relevant? No. Including songs about him is WP:IINFO unless the song somehow had an impact on him; otherwise it's just a big ol' list of trivia that clogs up the article. Ten Pound Hammer, his otters and a clue-bat • (Otters want attention) 02:45, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand. The subject is dead. Nothing has an impact on him anymore. Are you saying that only popular media concerning him that was released before his death and had a measurable impact on his life are acceptable? I agree that we should set the bar high, but that seems excessive.   Will Beback  talk  07:45, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that just because someone makes a song about him doesn't mean he's notable. There are probably dozens of songs about a certain figure, but we don't need to list every freaking one of them. Ten Pound Hammer, his otters and a clue-bat • (Otters want attention) 19:31, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Agree with you on this, Ten. No need to mention "every freaking one". --BwB (talk) 20:10, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
A song written about the subject may not be the reason for his notability, but it is an element of it. We should not include songs that only mention the subject in passing, but we should include those that are about him, just as we'd include books or films about him.   Will Beback  talk  21:31, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Reasonable suggestion, Will. --BwB (talk) 09:58, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. Every freking song that is about him recorded by some label and produced and distributed should be listed. -magermagician — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

WP:EL section clean-up[edit]

Per Kouvf's tag, we need to clean up the EL section to comply with WP:EL policy. While we discuss what links to include in the article, I am parking the current links here. --BwB (talk) 14:09, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Which of these are non-compliant, and why?   Will Beback  talk  00:41, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Current EL list[edit]


Under "Appearences" it says "Although Kaufman made a name for himself as a penas alongside the Not Ready For Primetime Players..." (my emboldenment). What should this actually say?Moletrouser (talk) 06:18, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Early life - meaningless qualifier?Pirate hamster (talk) 16:04, 17 March 2011 (UTC)[edit]

"(his mother was quite Jewish)"

What does this actually mean, given that it comes directly after the statement that his family was Jewish. If it is a quote of some kind what is its point and why isn't it attributed?

Topics to Add: Criticism and "Kaufmanesque" Humor[edit]

I'm posting this as the start of a discussion on how to add a criticism section. I'd like to hammer out the basics of the section without any needless edit warring or disputes. Kaufman was and remains a contentious figure, and was widely disliked by large numbers of people, including members of the entertainment industry and members of the public/general viewing population. As it currently stands, I think this article has some POV issues, because it mentions the various hoaxes, pranks, tantrums, etc. that defined Kaufman's career without really discussing much of the backlash. The SNL vote is, I think, a good indication that at the very least the public was quite split on him, and it seems reasonable to suggest that we expand the negative reactions and criticisms into a proper section.

Also, I think the popularity of the term "kaufmanesque" to describe comedy or performance in general deserves mention. Many writers, columnists, and so forth have couched the qualities/characteristics of more recent comedic trends (millennium onward) in the context of Andy Kaufman's persona and style. Many independent films and series have been called "kaufmanesque" by reviewers, and the word pops up in relation to Adult Swim shows all the time. There are plenty of refs for those with the time to seek them out. (talk) 04:35, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Is h2g2 a Reliable Source?[edit]

We have text about Kaufman and TM referenced as a BBC article on the web site. Is this a Reliable Source? --BwB (talk) 18:54, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

I would say no. The disclaimer on the bottom of the web page indicates it's about as reliable as Wikipedia, which cannot use itself as a source, or IMDB. User-generated content with little to no editorial oversight. Doc talk 18:59, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


It is said Kaufman was a non-smoker. But it doesn't figure when you look at his appearances. For example as Tony Clifton he allways had a cigarette. And if you look at his acts, he looked familiar and convincing smoking cigarettes. A convinced non-smokers would be disgusted and not inhale. Ok, maybe he was "into character", but a real non-smoker wouldn't take a pull on a cigarette. So he smoked (at least) on stage. If you have a predisposition, a couple of cigarettes could be already enough to get lung cancer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

A more interesting bit of original research: what if he got lung cancer from secondhand smoking? He played in lots of clubs where people smoked freely for years. This theoretical possibility, along with the above from the IP editor, is original research. Reliable sources state he was a non-smoker, and people who don't smoke can also develop lung cancer. I'm getting the feeling we've discussed this before, but I will have to check. Doc talk 07:07, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
He smoked herbal cigarettes as Clifton and other characters, it's shown in the film and other places. This was actually quite common practice in TV at the time Andy was around as the thicker white smoke actually shows up better on the colour film stock used before video. As for the other thing about him performing in smoky clubs, it probably was a factor and their have been other comics and musicians who have stated that as the case. Andy never did and there was no medical investigation into the cause. (talk) 14:02, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

If it's relevant that Andy's dad was a jewelry salesman, it's certainly relevant that he had three Purple Hearts.[edit]

I'm not understanding why you keep deleting that. And I would appreciate it if my citations of page numbers from Lost In The Funhouse are not reverted.Thebluenun (talk) 20:47, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Parents' professions are routinely given, since it's a different environment if your father was a retailer, a construction worker, a comedian himself or (see Nick Kroll) the head of a multinational corporation. What their fathers did during the war, or during college, or after they divorced mom and remarried is tangential trivia. --Tenebrae (talk) 22:30, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Punishing the audience[edit]

The article says, '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.'

Does it mean that he didn't really do this in real life, is it partially true, or completely true? The text is unclear.-- (talk) 15:35, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Not only are you correct that it was confusingly written, but the cited source says nothing at all about "punishing" the audience, and it was was POV about audiences laughing when they were purportedly being punished. Best I can tell, that was an overzealous fan adding his personal interpretation. Good catch. I've removed it. --Tenebrae (talk) 00:27, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Fan site[edit]

Why are we using the fan site as a reference source? The site's owner, B.K. Momchilov, is not a published or otherwise recognized authority on Kaufman, and if the material is simply taken from publicly available sources, then we should go to those sources. I don't know if we need to go to the trouble of an RfC since this fan site violates WP:RS, but anyone wanting to discuss the issue in the next few days please do, because I'm planning to go through its claims one-by-one and if RS sources don't confirm the claims, I'm removing them. --Tenebrae (talk) 00:24, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

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I removed the Note statement.[edit]

I removed the following statement, "Note, however, that Simon's association with Taxi did not begin until the show's third season, and he was not a witness to the Tony Clifton appearance described below." It doesn't sound encyclopedic, and it doesn't matter when Simon was on Taxi. It's Simon's statement that's important. Paige Matheson (talk) 20:58, 22 November 2017 (UTC)