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September 8, 2011

Andy Kaufman — "The Great Gatsby"

From the Andy Kaufman entry in Wikipedia: "'Taxi' was an award-winning show with a large audience and Kaufman was widely recognized as Latka. On some occasions, audiences would show up to one of Kaufman's stage performances expecting to see him perform as Latka, and heckling him with demands when he did not. Kaufman would punish these audiences with the announcement that he was going to read 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald to them. The audience would laugh at this, not realizing that he was serious, and Kaufman would proceed to read the book to them, continuing despite audience members' departure. At a certain point, he would ask the audience if they wanted him to keep reading, or play a record. When the audience chose to hear the record, the record he cued up was a recording of him continuing to read 'The Great Gatsby' from where he had left off."


Note added at 5:19 p.m. today: Flautist has ever so gently brought to my attention in her comment on this post the fact that the clip above features Jim Carrey as Kaufman in "Man on the Moon," a 1999 biopic.

As I watched it last night I thought the guy looked like Carrey but figured it was just a coincidence.

What a hash I've made of this post.

This link takes you to Kaufman himself reading "The Great Gatsby" in front of an increasingly restless and antagonistic audience; alas, "Embedding disabled by request."

Anyone with a link to a version I can post, send it on and I'll feature it instanter — or sooner, depending on which direction time is moving in your neck of the universe.

September 8, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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You know Joe, if you were not passing gas, you might be Andy.....

Your fascination with "big shoulder" Soviet era stuff, clocks, women's shoes, science, medicine (are you passing on your CME to all of us?), Na & capsaicin dispensers, SF - music and classic movie clips - and Champaign certainly has that Kaufmanesque (Kafkaesque?) thread woven through it....

Will Joe TV open with you singing (lip synching) to Mr. stone fruit's favorite song?

One thing is certain: none of us need Narcan when reading you!

It is September, when does the video roadside picnic begin?

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Sep 9, 2011 3:21:40 AM

I always think of Andy when I hear this song.


Posted by: Joe Peach | Sep 8, 2011 8:19:43 PM

What Avogadro said, up until the wrestling.

This little bit of absurdity of anticipation was one of my favorite things:

It's interesting to watch Jim Carrey's interpretation of that bit from the "Man On the Moon" film about Kaufman, showing Andy performing it on SNL:

Posted by: Flautist | Sep 8, 2011 4:57:40 PM

Right up until the wrestling.....

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Sep 8, 2011 4:35:31 PM

So few people appreciate his style.

Posted by: YesBiscuit! | Sep 8, 2011 3:18:18 PM

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