Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Andy Kaufman and Elvis (1977)

I was never much of an Andy Kaufman fan. That’s all I’ll say on that score. But while I was buzzing about on You Tube I found this incredible clip of him from his first appearance on the Johnny Carson Show on March 3, 1977. So, I missed the 36th anniversary of this appearance by a mere 3 days.

Andy Kaufman was a performance artist; he detested being labeled as a comedian. Beginning with local nightclub appearances where he would do impressions of TV characters like Archie Bunker, he graduated to the TV screen on the hit show “Taxi” where he played Latka Gravas, a foreign born taxi driver with a heavy accent.  From there he took the largest leap of his career when he went form “Taxi”, which was at the height of its popularity, and appeared on the Saturday Night Live Show of October 11, 1975. Going from a scripted sit-com to the improvisational comedy of SNL brought him to the forefront and before long he was the opening act at Rodney Dangerfield’s club, and appearing on shows such as Johnny Carson’s, which is shown above.

Born January 12, 1949 this highly unusual and talented performance artist passed away at the age of 35, after only 10 years in the business. He was stricken with a rare form of lung cancer and then succumbed to kidney failure a year later.

Sometimes it takes a while to fully appreciate the talents of others. In this case Andy Kaufman got shortchanged by me. I could never get past that accent thing; until I watched this you tube clip. His transformation and ease with the audience have made me wander back thru you tube for a better understanding of his unique talent.

One thing he did have in common with Elvis; after every performance he thanked the audience, just as the King did. Only with Andy, it came out as, “T'ank you veddy much!”
Alvin Lee Dead at 68

Another one flown away.... Nothing to say- just sit back and savor this set from Woodstock, courtesy of You Tube.... RIP Alvin Lee.

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