Andy Kaufman made a career out of pushing people’s buttons. Whether it was reading the Great Gatsby to a paying audience expecting a stand-up comedy show or staging what looked like a spontaneous brawl on live television, Kaufman made it his point in life to entertain people by making them uncomfortable at first, only to slyly let them realize that they were part of the joke. Bob Zmuda was Kaufman’s best friend and writing partner, and in this book Zmuda goes into detail about how the pranks were conceived and executed. Kaufman died in 1984 at the age of 35, but many people do not believe that he is dead to this day. They know that Andy was a practical joker, taking his jokes to the far extreme, and that convincing everyone he was dead would be the ultimate prank. Even Zmuda, who watched his friend waste away as he got sicker, has his doubts that Kaufman is gone.
Andy Kaufman is probably best known for his role as Latka Gravas on the hit television show Taxi. This book not only gives insight into Kaufman’s feelings about that show, but it also gives readers a look behind the scenes of one of Hollywood’s most notorious entertainers. All the famous Kaufman antics are described here, from lip-synching to the Mighty Mouse theme song on the debut episode of Saturday Night Live to his infamous battles with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler. Kaufman is the subject of Jim Carrey’s latest film Man on the Moon, and this book actually sheds more light on Kaufman than the film does. It’s a well-written and funny look at the life of comedian Andy Kaufman.
Reviewed by mw, 01/00. Other reviews by mw.