While often referred to as a comedian….Andy Kaufman described himself instead as a “song and dance man.” ….who disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood….for having once said in a rare introspective interview, “I am not a comic, I have never told a joke. … The comedian’s promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him… My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can.”….and this video herewith provides significant evidence to his statement.
After working in small comedy clubs in the early 1970’s….Andy Kaufman came to the attention of a wider audience in 1975….when he was invited to perform portions of his act on the first season of Saturday Night Live….where his Foreign Man character….which he also does in this video….was the basis of his role as Latka Gravas on the hit television show Taxi….on which he appeared from 1978 until 1983.
During the same time frame that he was doing Taxi…..he continued to tour comedy clubs and theaters in a series of unique performance art / comedy shows….while sometimes appearing as himself…. and sometimes as obnoxiously rude lounge singer Tony Clifton. He was also a frequent guest on sketch comedy and late-night talk shows….particularly Late Night with David Letterman.
Andy Kaufman was a rare entertainer….whose style was so “off-mainstream”….that no matter how he described himself as not being (a comic)….he ws funny as heck….and always well worth watching.