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The Afterlife Of Andy Kaufman

The Afterlife Of Andy Kaufman

Depending on whom you ask, Andy Kaufman either died on this day 29 years ago, or he pulled off one of history's greatest hoaxes. As evidence for the latter, they'll point to his career. Not the obvious one -- his "Taxi" gig or his quick-flaming stint on "Saturday Night Live" (which ended with the audience voting him off the show as part of a stunt he suggested, not thinking it would go that way). Even at the height of his mainstream success, Kaufman would tell any reporter who'd listen that all that flashy stuff was just to support his real work: his high-concept live act.

It's a long and sublimely silly list. Take the times Kaufman read The Great Gatsby aloud until the audience hissed and booed. "Would you rather listen to a tape?" he'd ask (they always said yes). But the tape simply turned out to be a recording of him reading The Great Gatsby.

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