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Ladies and gentlemen.
January 20, 2010 1:34 PM   Subscribe

So, Nathan has left the tape recorder on, and he says if I want to say fascinating things while he’s gone, I can. Well guess what I’m gonna do. While he’s gone, I’m taking his glass of beer and I’m putting it under the table and I’m gonna stick my fuckin’ dick in it. I’m gonna open up my zipper, and I’m gonna rub the tip of my fuckin’ cock around the mouth of his glass. Now I’m putting it back there. He’s gonna be drinkin’, but he ain’t gonna know until he plays this back the trick I pulled on him. The AV Club interviews Tony Clifton.
posted by shakespeherian (58 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Please put all NSFW words behind the fold?
posted by Melismata at 1:42 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


None of those jokes are funny.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:52 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, ok, I'm the one guy who doesn't get it.

I was pretty sure Tony Clifton was an entirely fictional creation of Andy Kaufman. Is that wrong? Or is he just a kind of inherited fictional creation that various people now play?

Stupid meta-reality.
posted by kbanas at 1:56 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think they're supposed to be funny.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 PM on January 20, 2010


Ugh, yeah, didn't need to see all that on the front page.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:04 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I laughed out loud at that Mike Tyson joke!

However, I will defer to those who inform me that none of the jokes are "funny."

-
posted by General Tonic at 2:04 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The real Tony Clifton, as played by Andy, was funny. This guy is just gross. I feel like showering after just skimming that piece.
posted by caddis at 2:05 PM on January 20, 2010


Jesus people calm the fuckity fuck down. It's not like fucking profanity is fucking verboten on the front page.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:06 PM on January 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Comedy = FPP deletion + time
posted by KokuRyu at 2:06 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Kauffman didn't resort to dick jokes (even when he wasn't on network TV) to be funny or strange. This is lazy.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:06 PM on January 20, 2010


Yuck.
posted by bearwife at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2010


Tony Clifton was never funny. Wlel, let me rephase. Like a lot of Kaufman's comedy, Clifton was funny in concept. And the concept was: Here's a lounge singer, the most lightweight, genial, smooth character that was kicking around the performing scene in the 60s. They were hired by hotel lounge's to class the place up a little, so they dressed up, and sang popular jazz favorites, and were blandly good looking and blandly charming.

But Kaufman's Clifton was the opposite -- abrasively so. I think Judd Hirsh say once that Kaufman wanted Clifton to be so bad that he would get escorted off the stage -- that this HAD to be the punchline. And, if you look at the Clifton stories, it's exactly what he did. In fact, Judd had him kicked off the set of Taxi, and said it was at Kaufman's insistance, and Kaufman wouln't have been happy if that's not how it ended.

And Kaufman's prank was to try and make Clifton as real as possible. So here he is, decades after Kaufman died, still performing, still as unpleasant as ever. And, based on this interview, full of entertainment war stories that sound real, but couldn't be.

It's sort of amazing. I appreciate it intellectually, but, Jesus, the guy makes my skin crawl.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:10 PM on January 20, 2010 [20 favorites]


Is this still Bob Zmuda? Who is responsible for continuing this? He's no Neil Hamburger (NSFW).
posted by basicchannel at 2:13 PM on January 20, 2010


Yeah, Kauffman didn't resort to dick jokes (even when he wasn't on network TV) to be funny or strange. This is lazy.

Actually, he did. Tony Clifton got kicked off of Taxi for showing up drunk with a bunch of prostitutes.

Whatever, haters. I saw this and was all like, "fuck yeah Tony Clifton." But then, I love Andy Kaufman tons. When I was sixteen, I made Andy Kaufman paperdolls.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love the concept of Tony Clifton - as long I don't have to actually see, hear, or read his act. But if someone else sits through it? Now THAT's hysterical!!!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:16 PM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is confusing on so many different levels.
posted by puppyp at 2:17 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I believe Zmuda actually did the stand up act several months back on the lower east side in NY, though it was at an art space, not a comedy club. At least I think it was Zmuda.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2010


In that dragging up Kaufman's dead corpse is obscene in its own way, Clifton being interviewed is a bit of a metajoke.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, since part of me has always wanted Kaufman to be alive (which is, I think, how he would have wanted it), this kind of stuff is like crack to me:

AVC: It seems like you have mixed emotions toward Andy.

TC: He’s been dead for 25 years. How many fuckin’ emotions you got? My mother’s been dead for 30 years. I got more emotions there. I just don’t see the connection. Other people do. Unfortunately, he bamboozled the American public into thinking that I was him. That’s where all the confusion started. See the movie Man On The Moon. Look at the credits, it doesn’t say Tony Clifton played by Jim Carrey. It says Tony Clifton as himself. I am a real entity. You probably know that by now. [Laughs.]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:27 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


so i was reading about performance art (and method acting ;) and came across: Andy Kaufman on The Tonight Show With Host Steve Martin

that is all!
posted by kliuless at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


This FPP is a fantastic way for Metafilter to get tagged as Adult/Inappropriate by content-filtering web proxies, and to get people fired when the wrong person shoulder-surfs at the wrong time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:40 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This FPP is a fantastic way for Metafilter to get tagged as Adult/Inappropriate by content-filtering web proxies, and to get people fired when the wrong person shoulder-surfs at the wrong time.

This is a terrible reason for self-censorship. The burden is not on Metafilter to play nice with every possible heavy-handed expression of morality that could be visited upon its readers.
posted by thedaniel at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2010 [46 favorites]


Maybe he should take over for the mystery guy that shows up at Poe's grave, and just leave a burning bag of poo. Or maybe he does this at the mystery guy's grave every year and does that, just to be even more meta.
posted by chambers at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2010


Could someone summarize what's going on here?
posted by Think_Long at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2010


Any friend of Miss Piggy's is a friend of mine.

(I saw this on Nickelodeon when I was about six and just could not figure out what was going on. I wonder if that's how the unitiated feel about this FPP?)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:48 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could someone summarize what's going on here?

The world of Tony Clifton is deliberately confusing (and unfunny, which is the core of the joke - geddit?), but the wikipedia entry might give you a little insight as to what's happening.

I do think it's a testament to the legacy of Andy Kaufman that his friends have been able to keep the confusion alive all of these years after his death. Especially in the era of the internet where rumors and mysteries are solved with just a few clicks. At best, people are pretty sure about the whole story and who Tony Clifton is/are, but there's always a bit of speculation. I think that's sort of fun. But I still don't want to sit through even a few minutes of that trainwreck in person.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Putting tasteless, tactless raunch on the -inside- of the FPP rather than the -outside- is a stupid definition of self-censorship. Common courtesy is not orwellian.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clifton was never funny, he was just the biggest asshole imaginable. Or, well, imaginable by Kaufman himself.

I really can't read that full interview with Clifton, because it makes me hope that maybe Andy Kaufman might still be alive, and he's finally going to re-emerge and tell us his death was just one big gotcha joke.

HAw!! HAW!! HAW!! And wasn't that "funny??"

And then I kinda wanta kill him, so he's dead again.
posted by Skygazer at 3:12 PM on January 20, 2010


Hmmm... let's put this another way. I love Kaufman and Clifton, and I get and appreciate the humor. This is not a hypothetical... I really do. But the headline chosen for the FPP means Metafilter is capital-X NSFW. This is not because of prudish morality. It's because it sexualizes the work environment, which is Sexual Harassment. If one of my female co-workers saw raunchy cock jokes on my PC when she stopped by, how would that make her feel about working with me?

If I'm stone stupid and follow NSFW-marked links, it's my own lookout. This is different... it makes the whole site off limits during work hours, and that would make me a sad lil' camper.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:38 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


and to get people fired when the wrong person shoulder-surfs at the wrong time.

That is exactly what Tony Clifton wants.
posted by naju at 3:47 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


+1 keep the fucks below the fold

also this is shitty interview
posted by unSane at 3:49 PM on January 20, 2010


MeTa.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:07 PM on January 20, 2010


I knew nothing about Tony Clifton other than what I just read from the Onion interview. I came away from the interview thinking that he sounded like the world's biggest asshole.

The world of Tony Clifton is deliberately confusing (and unfunny, which is the core of the joke - geddit?), but the wikipedia entry might give you a little insight as to what's happening.

So the Onion devoted a massive fake interview to a fictional character. *yawn* How droll.

I slogged through it. Who do I see about getting those 10 minutes of my life back?
posted by zarq at 4:14 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So who's the guy impersonating Clifton now? Is that the mystery to be solved here?
posted by zardoz at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2010


Clifton as Howdy Doody/Ed McMahon. Yes, as a puppet.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:51 PM on January 20, 2010


So who's the guy impersonating Clifton now?

It's still Andy.
posted by Mike Buechel at 5:04 PM on January 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


On the NSFW issue: if people couldn't access Metafilter from work, this site would become pretty dull pretty quickly, no?

We're sucking off the ignored teat that is the unquantifiable efficiency of modern post-industrialism after all.
posted by yesster at 5:10 PM on January 20, 2010


So who's the guy impersonating Clifton now?

People who lack imagination (or read the intro to the article) might think it's Andy's longtime friend and co-conspirator Bob Zmuda. Only Carly Simon knows the real identity.
posted by msalt at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2010


Merv Griffin interview with Andy Kaufman. Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern) defends Andy's claims and Nick Nolte is asked if he can tell if Andy's lying.
posted by Mike Buechel at 5:22 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Click on 2cd image, left to right for video.
posted by Mike Buechel at 5:23 PM on January 20, 2010


On Letterman in the 80s -- Medley w/ interview. I think this is Zmuda, but so funny.
posted by vronsky at 5:53 PM on January 20, 2010


The Dinah Shore episode they were referring to (with Charles Nelson Reilly!). This one is definitely Andy. according to the youtube info - "sometime after this clip ends, Tony pours eggs all over Dinah. Dinah had her producers destroy the footage." God I love Andy.
posted by vronsky at 6:06 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


We’re all put here for a special reason. I’m here because I have a 10-octave range.

AVC: I did not know that.

TC: Ten octaves. I can sustain a note longer than Johnny Mathis, who’s the longest one. See. [Demonstrates poorly sustained and poorly performed note.] Those are mine.


Anti-jokes are better than regular jokes because they demonstrate that there is no such thing as anything that isn't a joke.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:14 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


On Letterman in the 80s -- Medley w/ interview. I think this is Zmuda, but so funny.
posted by vronsky at 8:53 PM on January 20 [+] [!]


I don't know Vronsky. I feel like there's some major Kaufman body language w/ Clifton there. Especially when he waves his left arm high in the air (like in his Elvis impression or Mighty Mouse skit), also when he recites What is a Wife, that really strikes me as a Kaufman with that small sort of side to side stutter step. Unless Zmuda is purposely copying Andy there....it's all so strange.

What other comedian would be fuckin' with our heads this intensely 25 years after passing away (that is, if he truly did pass away...).
posted by Skygazer at 7:29 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy and Elvis are right now at this moment smoking a spliff together in Kalamazoo.
Really.
posted by caddis at 7:39 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please, people. Your bad lounge metacomedy now comes from Neil Hamburger. He's so good, we invented a punctuation sign after him. Let's not exhume old Andy Kaufman bits.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:00 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kalamazoo? That's what they call Hell these days?

Really, I think the web filters are okay with the word "Hell," people.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:07 PM on January 20, 2010


That Hamburger guy sucks dog tits. He's not even bad.
posted by unSane at 9:56 PM on January 20, 2010


I thought Andrew W.K. was played by Tony Clifton?
posted by Telf at 10:32 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy Kaufman wasn't funny. Andy Kaufman being deliberately not funny was interesting, but still not funny. Bob Zmuda being Andy Kaufman being Tony Clifton is also still not funny, but no longer interesting.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:34 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Hamburger guy sucks dog tits. He's not even bad.

i saw neil hamburger open for trans am years ago. it sucked and was hilarious. maybe live it's different. live, standing in one spot for too long, in a hot, stinky, overcrowded club listening to some jackass tell un-jokes. it was hard not to laugh.
posted by rainperimeter at 12:19 AM on January 21, 2010


Andy Kaufman wasn't funny. Andy Kaufman being deliberately not funny was interesting, but still not funny. Bob Zmuda being Andy Kaufman being Tony Clifton is also still not funny, but no longer interesting.


YES YES YES
posted by josher71 at 7:53 AM on January 21, 2010


Andy Kaufman and his erstwhile doppelganger (?) Clifton is like sitting around in a wet, sandy bathing suit. At first it's interesting, then it quickly becomes irritating, and then disgusting.

Kaufman's aim was to stress his audience and frankly, I do not find that entertaining. Amusing in a conceptual way, perhaps, but not worth investing time in pursuing or observing. Were it not for Clifton's association with Kaufman, he would not be able to buy an interview, regardless of who plays him. He's intentionally repellent, and as such a one-trick pony. Snore.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:43 AM on January 21, 2010


Kaufman's aim was to stress his audience and frankly, I do not find that entertaining. Amusing in a conceptual way, perhaps, but not worth investing time in pursuing or observing.

I think that ultimately, it was all about Kaufman's own amusement rather than anything really interesting or edifying for the audience. There's something to be said about artfully creating odd situations where people are forced to look at how they react, but just making people uncomfortable while expecting some kind of resolution or entertainment that they can laugh at without feeling called to account seems to me less than edifying. There's no big mystery to Kaufman, he was just getting a rise out of people who were slower than he was. That said, it's amusing for adolescents so it's not without a market.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy Kaufmann was not a comedian. He was an artist.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 AM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well put, Burhanistan. As far as him being an artist, that term is applied pretty liberally these days. What, then, does that make Clifton? A work of art?
posted by kinnakeet at 10:09 AM on January 21, 2010


thanks for a brilliant post.
posted by telstar at 6:04 PM on January 21, 2010


The real Andy Kaufman.
posted by Mike Buechel at 11:04 PM on January 21, 2010


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