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The Kaufman Chronicles

Andy as Elvis

...all things Andy...

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"THE REAL ANDY KAUFMAN" ON DVD

The Real Andy Kaufman

Music Video Distributors Inc. (MVD) now offers the DVD version of the Seth Schultz documentary, "The Real Andy Kaufman".

Available through Eclectic DVD Distribution (A Division of MVD), this 56-minute film contains rare, live footage from Andy's infamous performance in November 1979 at Kutsher's Resort in the Catskills. Filmed and edited with the love and care of a close friend, this raw and rare glimpse of Andy is considered the "Zapruder Film" of Kaufmaniacs worldwide.

Order your copy today by visiting the Eclectic DVD Distribution website at: http://www.eclecticdvd.com

VIEW RARE BONUS MATERIAL!! (Originally Posted on November 11, 2001)

Click here to see behind-the-scenes material, and never before seen information about Andy.

EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT ANDY'S 1969 LETTER TO ELVIS!! (Originally Posted March 30, 2001)

The Andy Kaufman Home Page is proud to provide Kaufmaniacs with an exclusive glimpse of Andy's rare and newly unearthed letter to his idol, Elvis Presley. This letter was composed and mailed by Andy while at college in the early months of 1969. The complete text of this letter is included on the inside cover of the paperback edition of Lost in the Funhouse.

To see Andy's letter CLICK HERE .

NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ANDY? READ ON. . .(Originally Posted March 30, 2001)

Do you have RealPlayer?. If so, watch The Museum of Broadcast Communication's "An Evening About Andy Kaufman" held at the Chicago Cultural Center on January 6, 2000. Learn more about Andy Kaufman, and see rare video clips of Andy's best performances.

Click here to view.

Interested in learning more about two people who played a part in Andy's life? Read the following articles at Salon.com:

To find out about Bill Belew, the man who dressed Elvis Presley, and who also made Andy's Elvis costumes - click here.

Learn about West African drummer, Babatunde Olantunji, the man who inspired Andy and taught him how to play the congas - by clicking here.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE ANDY KAUFMAN HOME PAGE (Originally Posted April 19, 2000)

"Kaufmania" waning.

The recent renewal of interest in the life of Andy Kaufman has just about ended. It soared to unimagined heights in late December (1999) with the premiere of the movie, "Man on the Moon" and the release of two books about Andy's life. Much was written and said about Andy and (most) longtime Andy fans enjoyed the renaissance. Sadly it appears the general public regards Andy as nothing more than an obscure footnote in the history of the modern American entertainment business. Those of you who feel as passionately as we do about Andy's life and legacy would obviously disagree.

As the days and months go by The Andy Kaufman Home Page will remain the Internet's only true source for information about Andy. While updates to this site will occur with less frequency, we promise to keep it available for all longtime fans, casual observers, new fans and the curious alike.

Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MAN (Originally Posted January 29, 2000)

Read the New York Times Book Review of Bill Zehme's "Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman by clicking here.

(Login registration with the NYTimes website is required.)

MAN ON THE MOON UPDATES DAILY! (Originally Posted December 19, 1999)

For the latest up-to-the-minute news on events surrounding the Andy Kaufman biopic, "Man on the Moon" visit the lovely ladies at CINEMAYHEM. Donna Mobley and Jenelle Riley have gathered an incredible amount of information regarding anything associated with the movie. Check it out right now, but don't forget to come back and finish exploring The Andy Kaufman Home Page.

FUNHOUSE ARRIVES! AUTHOR BEGINS WORLD TOUR! (Originally Posted December 3, 1999)

"Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman" is available in stores now and author Bill Zehme is currently on the road doing P.R. for the book. Look for Bill on the December 2nd edition of CNN Newstand with Judd Rose. He'll also be featured December 3rd on NPR's "All Things Considered" with Noah Adams. Bill will appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" and "Entertainment Tonight" on December 7th.

Beginning Monday, December 6, 1999, look for a special feature on "Funhouse" at Bold Type, an online literary magazine sponsored by Random House. Jacob Hoye interviews Bill Zehme and the essay features rare photos of Andy that were not included in the book. It will also have some transcripts from Andy's early Letterman appearances, including one from Letterman's short-lived morning show.

SCREENPLAY IN PRINT (Originally Posted November 24, 1999)

"Man on the Moon" screenwriters Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski will be featured in the January/February issue of CREATIVE SCREENWRITING magazine. Read this revealing article in order to get a better clue as to why the movie was such a failure. Also, Newmarket Press has published the screenplay with notes by the writers and an afterword by Milos Forman. If you're interested, click here to order your copy from Amazon.com.

To order Kaufman-related videos and books from Amazon.com use the easy search request form found at The Frequently Asked Questions portion of our site.

MTR IN NYC & L.A. TO FEATURE ANDY (Originally Posted November 24, 1999)

Through January 30, 2000, The Museum of Television & Radio will be screening Andy's Funhouse: The Andy Kaufman Special at both its New York and Los Angeles locations. The screening includes the 60-minute special, Kaufman's original appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live, his infamous appearance on Fridays (together with his apology on the next week's episode) and on Late Night with David Letterman the night he was bitch-slapped by Jerry "The King" Lawler.

For screening times and Museum locations, please visit The Museum of Television & Radio WWW site.

VCR ALERT: A&E BIOGRAPHY

The A&E Biography on Andy Kaufman will be broadcast on Monday, December 27, 1999 at 8:00 P.M. (EST). Have those VCRs ready to record!!

ANDY'S WORD TO INK (Orginally Posted November 13, 1999)

Andy was a prolific writer and two of his three books ("God" and "The Huey Williams Story") will soon be published and available for purchase. Zilch Publishing is working out the details now and hope to have the books available before the end of the year. A book of Andy's short stories and poems is also planned.

The Andy Kaufman Home Page will provide further information as details emerge.

UNIVERSAL MOVES BOW DATE AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN... (Originally posted October 20, 1999)

The ever-changing opening date for "Man on the Moon" has been moved from Christmas Day to Wednesday, December 22, 1999. "Man on the Moon II - Electric Boogaloo" goes into production April 1, 2000.

To read previous posts concerning the production of "Man on the Moon" visit The Kaufman Chronicles Archive.

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WHAT KIND OF GUY ARE YOU??

July 28, 1982 - Late Night with David Letterman

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Distant Replay - Andy Banned for Life

November 20, 1982 - Saturday Night Live conducts a phone-in poll and asks viewers to vote on whether Andy Kaufman should ever be allowed to return as a guest. Andy loses 195,544 to 169,186.

On June 4, 1984, a People magazine tribute to Andy recounts the incident as follows: "Kaufman, whose offbeat absurdist humor never quite penetrated the American mainstream was voted off the late-night airwaves...Friends of the comedian say he felt deeply betrayed by the voting ploy."

What really happened:
During the previous week Andy had been cut from the show. He and Dick Ebersol engaged in a loud, nasty argument in the hallway outside of Studio 8H. At the beginning of the next show (November 20, 1982), Ebersol personally came on stage to announce that viewers would be able to vote to decide if Andy Kaufman should be forever banned from SNL. Many of the cast and crew were divided over whether Kaufman was being treated terribly or just getting what he deserved. The phone-in vote and Kaufman's lifetime ban were all conceived by Andy who pitched the idea to Ebersol weeks prior to the hoax. Andy spent the week worrying over how the vote would go, but when he lost, kept his word and never returned to SNL again.

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Andy's "Hundred Bottles of Beer" Sketch

One of Andy's most poignant performances was his famous, "Hundred Bottles of Beer" routine. When asked about this bit, Andy replied, "A Hundred Bottles of Beer has always been a fantasy of mine. There are such psychological implications to that song, such great things you can do. Once they're hooked, they won't let you stop. Can you imagine?"

Sing along with Andy here.

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Kaufman Quotes

"Andy made himself the premise and the rest of the world was the punchline." - Robin Williams

"He was never afraid to go out and try something new. He takes his life in his hands." - Carl Reiner

"Comedians would stand in the back and go: 'I gotta build a statue, and it's gotta be of HIM!" - Jim Carrey

"He was like avant-garde theater transported to a nightclub stage." - Richard Belzer

"In Andy there is something underneath the playfulness, a sense of danger, a kind of general anger, as if the way we wearily come to see the world is simply insufficient." - Marty Feldman

"I never understood why he would want to alienate the audience to such extremes, unless he was trying to get them to go from hate to love." - Stanley Kaufman

"Andy takes a lot of risks. What performer in his right mind would go onstage and deliberately bomb?" - Bob Zmuda

"I think when you take off that jacket and they see that I LOVE GRANDMA T-shirt, they're going to rip your heart out." - Elayne Boosler

"In about 1981 (I was still in college), I was a HUGE Andy Kaufman fan. Andy did the modern art version of comedy. Comedy about comedy commenting on itself." - Robert Smigel

"I always found (Andy) not only entertaining, but fascinating to be around. I miss him." - Danny DeVito

"He's brilliant. I think he should drop the T.M. crap, take care of his skin, and realize now that he's brilliant. I think he is the wave of the future, and hardly nine steps behind me." - Cranberry juice shill and failed talk show host, Chevy Chase

"Andy was a sweet kid from Great Neck who was probably one of the strangest, funniest comedians you'll ever see. His choice of ways to get laughs were choices no one else ever would think of. It was humor from wanting to kill him, from the nerve, from the audacity of what he did. That's how he got his laughs." - James Burrows

"Andy thinks like I did about wrestling. I didn't care if you loved me or hated me. What the hell's the difference? As long as you intrigue your fans. Andy has balls." - Buddy "Nature Boy" Rogers

"Sometimes, when you look Andy in the eyes, you get a feeling somebody else is driving." - David Letterman

"Andy Kaufman was by far the most innovative comedian at that time - although he never liked being called a comedian. With Andy, you never knew whom you were talking to. He liked to disappear into different personas offstage as well as onstage and refused to ever break character. He was a remarkable guy, but basically confusing to spend any time around." - Jay Leno

"Andy meditated in his car, lived on seaweed, and rehearsed only on Tuesday afternoons. But he was one of the most brilliant comedians ever." - Tony Danza

"He twitches!" - Anne Beatts

"...one could call Kaufman's work television to the second power, and define it as "Kaufman = TV x TV." - Michael Nash

"I never met anyone like him, and I don't expect to ever again. You see, Andy's gift was not his talent or his skills-it was his genius, the genius of what he dared." - Judd Hirsch

"I am NOT Andy Kaufman!!" - Tony Clifton

"I've never been one to hope that Elvis is still hanging around somewhere, but I will probably always expect to see Andy reappear some day." - Laurie Anderson

"Kaufman was a genius. But strange." - Gary Nardino

"Andy would orchestrate and rehearse each of his appearances for maximum impact. And when the impact worked, good or bad, he would savor it. If we could have one guest like Andy -- to me that's worth six months of new material." - David Letterman (again)

"I never liked Andy's act. I've been trying to figure out the fascination with him. What I've decided is that Andy Kaufman acted out the hostility for the audience that so many people in Hollywood feel but don't dare admit. That's why they admire him now, at this distance. It's the worst kind of behavior dressed up as performance art, then it's OK." - Harry Shearer

"Andy Kaufman, you're gonna get hurt son!!" - Jerry "The King" Lawler

"Andy was an absolute original. An uncompromised artist who marched through his short, strange life to a very different drummer." - Marilu Henner

"Andy Kaufman sheds characters like a cold-sufferer discarding Kleenex." - Time Magazine (May 28, 1979)

"He wanted to make audiences work, to rethink the obvious." - Elayne Boosler

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Andy on Andy

ANDY SINGS THE SONGS OF SLIM WHITMAN

"There's no way to describe what I do. It's just me."

"My mother sent me to psychiatrists since the age of four because she didn't think little boys should be sad. When my brother was born, I stared out the window for days. Can you imagine that?"

"I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut-or get angry from the gut."

"If I play my cards right, I could bring network wrestling back to TV. Unfortunately, to most people, wrestling is a laughingstock. But fortunately, I'm reaching people who otherwise wouldn't watch it." - 1981

"There's no drama like wrestling."

"When I was 7, I believed Howdy Doody was in a little world inside that glowing box. I was hypnotized and I wanted to go away, to be with him in there. When I was 8, I started doing party magic shows for kids - grown-ups had to leave. Then later, at college in Boston, I worked up my own kid's show, Uncle Andy's Fun House.

"Pure entertainment is not an egotistical lady singing boring songs onstage for two hours and people in tuxes clapping whether they like it or not. It's the real performers on the street who can hold people's attention and keep them from walking away."

"Whenever I play a role, whether it's good or bad, an evil person or nice person, I believe in being a purist and going all the way with the role. If I'm going to be a villainous wrestler, I believe in going all the way with it and not breaking character and not giving away to the audience that I'm playing a role. I believe in playing it straight to the hilt."

"I am not a comic, I have never told a joke. I don't even watch comedians. The comedian's promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him. I've never done that in my life. My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can. I can manipulate people's reactions. There are different kinds of laughter. Gut laughter is where you don't have a choice, you've got to laugh. Gut laughter doesn't come from the intellect. And it's much harder for me to evoke now, because I'm known. They say, 'Oh wow, Andy Kaufman, he's a really funny guy.' But I'm not trying to be funny. I just want to play with their heads."

"While all the other kids were out playing ball and stuff, I used to stay in my room and imagine that there was a camera in the wall. And I used to really believe that I was putting on a television show and that it was going out to somewhere in the world."

"When I perform, it's very personal. I'm sharing things I like, inviting the audience into my room."

"What's real? What's not? That's what I do in my act, test how other people deal with reality."

"I try to please people, to give them a good time, but I refuse to make my act conform to traditional show-biz standards of entertainment. There's a little voice that says, 'Oh, no, you can't do that, that's breaking all the rules.' That's the voice of show business. Then this other little voice says, 'Try it.' And most of the time, when the voice comes on and says, 'No,' that's the time it works."

"When you go through a tunnel - you're going on a train - you go through a tunnel, the tunnel is dark, but you're still going forward. Just remember that. But if you're not going to get up on stage for one night because you're discouraged or something, then the train is going to stop. Everytime you get up on stage, if it's a long tunnel, it's going to take a lot of times of going on stage before things get bright again. You keep going on stage, you go forward. EVERY night you go on stage..."

"I was just teasing in fun..."

"The critics try to intellectualize my materiel. There's no satire involved. Satire is a concept that can only be understood by adults. My stuff is straight, for people of all ages."

"I never told a joke in my life."

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Visit these links to learn more about the short and extraordinary life of Andy Kaufman:

Frequently Asked Questions About Andy Kaufman

The Andy Kaufman Timeline

The Night Andy Hosted "Fridays"

Andy's Last Days

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A sincere, "Dank you veddy much" to BoB Kerman and all the folks at JVLNET for graciously hosting The Andy Kaufman Home Page.

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