Authentic Andy Kaufman, From the Funny to the Truly Weird


If seeing Jim Carrey in “Man on the Moon” has whet your appetite for the real Andy Kaufman, there are plenty of his films and specials available on video.

Sony Music Video recently released the funny “Andy Kaufman--The Midnight Special” ($13). Hosted by Wolfman Jack, this was actually an episode of the long-running NBC series “The Midnight Special” that aired on Jan. 23, 1981, three years before the comic’s death. Kaufman keeps an appreciative audience entertained with his “Foreign Guy” and wonderful, dead-on Elvis impersonation. There’s even an overlong visit from his obnoxious alter ego, Tony Clifton, who insults several members of the audience. Footage includes Kaufman working as a busboy at Jerry’s Deli in Studio City, wrestling women and rehearsing scenes for “Taxi.” He’s also interviewed about his act and why he decided to wrestle women.

New from Rhino Home Video is “My Breakfast With Blassie” ($10), starring Kaufman and famed wrestler Fred Blassie, and “I’m From Hollywood” ($15).


This new edition of “My Breakfast With Blassie,” which Rhino originally released on video in 1984, includes previously unavailable footage of the film’s premiere at the Nuart on March 20, 1983, which was Kaufman’s last public appearance. The film is an enjoyable parody of “My Dinner With Andre,” with Kaufman traveling by bus to a Sambo’s restaurant in Southern California to have breakfast with former wrestling champion Blassie, who coined the phrase “pencil-neck geeks.” During the course of the next hour, the two talk about hygiene, diet, women and wrestling. Kaufman even gets into a fight with a group of women at the next table and then tries to pick one of them up.

“I’m From Hollywood,” which was conceived by Kaufman and directed by his girlfriend, Lynne Margulies, is strictly for Kaufman fans. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s just too bizarre for most tastes. The “documentary” chronicles Kaufman’s exploits in the world of wrestling, including his supposed feud with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler, who put Kaufman in a neck brace several times. There’s lots of footage of Kaufman wrestling women and mocking Southerners. Included are interviews with Robin Williams and Kaufman’s “Taxi” co-stars Marilu Henner and Tony Danza.