Wrestling documentry about comedian Andy Kauffman's break into professional wrestling. Mainly focuses on his feud with Memphis wrestling legend, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and features ... See full summary »
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Wrestling documentry about comedian Andy Kauffman's break into professional wrestling. Mainly focuses on his feud with Memphis wrestling legend, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and features interviews from his "Taxi" co-stars, announcer Lance Russell, and Robin Williams. Written by
Pat McCurry <email@example.com>
Production began in mid 1983 and later halted in early 1984 after Andy Kaufman was diagnosed with lung cancer. Production and research resumed over one year after his death for another two years as well as a year of editing before being released in 1989, five years after Kaufman's death. See more »
Like the previous reviewer, I too laugh out loud every time I see this. I watched it again today on Comedy Central and laughed continuously.
Kaufman must have been one of the truly funniest, most inventive comics of his day. He operated on so many levels, and satirized the entertainment culture, its idols and himself. Who else could wow an audience with an Elvis routine and then shyly accept their applause with such a silly "Tank you berry much."?
It's a lot of fun to hear Zmuda, Williams and the others describe how Andy played with his audiences, and hooked them in to his premise so cleverly. It must have really been something to watch.
One of the ideas bandied about in this movie is whether Andy was sincere about wrestling, or simply playing his audience for laughs. To hear Williams and Henner discuss it, you would think Kaufman was at least partly sincere.
Kaufman no doubt had fantasies about being a wrestler. I think these fantasies propelled him to choose this venue for his act. But I think it was an act, and I think that's where his fantasy ended. Perhaps it was too difficult for his friends to see this; they were just too close to him. What do I know, I've never met any of them. I just think that Andy must have been one of those people who decided that performing was too much fun to turn off, and just behaved bizarrely even around (or maybe especially around) others in show business. What better way to prove your genius then to fool the best of the best?
I think Andy was playing his hick Memphis audience like a cheap fiddle. He must have sat in his hotel room, looking at their simian, neandrathal faces, and absolutely laughed his butt off. The way they grimaced at his antics and condemned him, they must have thought professional wrestling was a morality play. If I were him, I would have gotten a big kick out of it.
Of course this was an act. It was performance art by a master. He could make professional comics embarrassed to watch him; why not convince a Memphis audience he was sincerely behaving like a spoiled, obnoxious Hollywood cretin. His lawyer, after all, was Zmuda. It took me a few viewings to catch that.
The close-ups of faces in the Memphis crowd are priceless. You have never seen so much backwater, shallow-end-of-the-genepool, jutting cranial ridges as in this audience. You know how so many comedians just happen to mention the scary hick southern towns they have to play? Well, this crowd is proof that those comedians aren't lying. Those people do exist, and the highlight of their lives is driving into town to watch wrestling.
I'm looking forward to seeing Man in the Moon. I hope it's not a disappointment. With Carrey being directed by Forman, I don't think it can lose.
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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