Rhys Darby
Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Anti-comedian Kaufman still having the last laugh

Mysterious woman claims TV sitcom star living in the Midwest.

Andy Kaufman, as Lotka in the television series Taxi, is still having a laugh.
Andy Kaufman, as Lotka in the television series Taxi, is still having a laugh.

I'm writing this having gained some recent information that if believed could rock your very world. Mind you, by the time you're reading this the information could have changed or have been corrected because I'm under the assumption that we have all been misled, that is to say taken down the garden path and shown the tool shed only to find some of the tools are missing and in their place is a surprise greeting card, the audible kind, which when opened yells "Surprise" and then sings the theme tune to Mighty Mouse. Why? Because former Taxi star Andy Kaufman is alive!

I found this out the other day thanks to the internet, one of the most trustworthy things of today's society, so please sit back and let me fill you in ...

Every year in New York City they hold the Andy Kaufman awards. It's a fairly low-key event which takes place at the Gotham Comedy Club on West 23rd.

An award is given to a local comedian who has shown the gift of originality and uniqueness through their act, showing the spirit of Kaufman, who as you may know never played by the rules. Here's my take on Andy Kaufman ...

For Kaufman, comedy was a skill that was open for examination. He didn't just do comedy, he deconstructed it like it was a transistor set. He pulled out all the wires and switched them around, often in front of our very eyes.

His audience were left confused or bewildered but ultimately strangely satisfied. He was an anti-comedian and so a comedian's comedian but perhaps most of all his own comedian, for often the joke would just be for him. Whatever his reasoning, his work broke the boundaries of social norms and perhaps that was his point. Comedy shouldn't be restrained under the belt of normality. Andy was on a quest to find more, to challenge our perception of life. Life, after all, is all just an act, right? Well, this brings me back to this particular night at the Gotham Comedy Club, so here's what went down ...

Andy's brother Michael was on stage addressing the crowd. He introduced to the audience a mysterious 26-year-old woman. This woman hadn't met Michael before and so she exuded a nervous energy that made her seem real. She dropped a bombshell on the crowd by revealing not only was she Andy's daughter but that Andy was, in fact, alive and living in the Midwest with her mum. She went on to say that her grandfather's recent death had affected him and he had decided to come out of hiding since dying in 1984. Andy had sent his daughter along that night to reveal this truth to the world.

Uncle Michael believed her and the two hugged on stage. So was this all an act or is Andy still laughing at us from his lounge room chair? Well, news just in folks: while typing this column I have since found out from The Smoking Gun website that this so-called Kaufman daughter is actually an actress by the name of Alexandra Tatarsky. According to the website she met Michael Kaufman earlier this year and he recruited her for the job. So there you have it, chuck the card away, the tools have been found, shed closed!

- NZ Herald

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