Comedy – Andy Kaufman – playing the bongos & speaking in foriegn tongues


Andy Kaufman was a unique as an entertainer and comic can get…..as he first caught major attention with a character known as Foreign Man….who 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 jokes and perform a number of impersonations….such as television character Archie Bunker or President Richard Nixon.  Some variations of this performance were broadcast in the first season of Saturday Night Live….as the Mighty Mouse number was featured in the October 11, 1975 premiere….while the joke-telling and Bunker impression were included in the November 8 broadcast that same year.  Foreign Man would often try to impersonate a whole series of different celebrities….with the comedy arising from the character’s obvious ineptitude at impersonation. For example, in his fake accent, he would say to the audience, “I would like to imitate Meester Carter de president of de United States”….and then, in the same voice, “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 entirely used 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 an unexpectedly credible Elvis Presley impersonation….one that Presley himself described as his favorite.  Like Presley, he would take off his leather jacket and throw it into the audience….but Kaufman would then immediately ask for it back again.  After, he would take a simple bow and say in his Foreign Man voice, “T’ank you veddy much.”

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