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Howdy Doody/Andy Kaufman
April 18, 2010 8:10 PM   Subscribe

SLYT Doody/Kaufman No matter what you expect, this won't be it.
posted by HuronBob (22 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh, i expected howdy doody and andy kaufman.
posted by empath at 8:14 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


empath..... I should have been more obtuse in my fpp title...damn...
posted by HuronBob at 8:18 PM on April 18, 2010


Andy Kaufman was the master of the uncomfortable moment.
posted by Doohickie at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"master of the uncomfortable moment."... yep...that "I always wanted to touch you..." bit could have gone bad places....
posted by HuronBob at 8:23 PM on April 18, 2010


I should have been more obtuse in my fpp title...damn...

Now if it was doody/kaufman slashfic, i would not have expected that.
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on April 18, 2010


I kept expecting Andy to pick up the doll and smash it, I found it more discomfiting that he didn't.
posted by msali at 8:32 PM on April 18, 2010


"Now if it was doody/kaufman slashfic, i would not have expected that."

that's disturbing... and splinters...
posted by HuronBob at 8:32 PM on April 18, 2010


Well, so far I'd say that we're doing worse than the YouTube comments:
"boojiboy1986 anyone else cry? 5 1 year ago
Most Recent Comments see all
xvoy2002 ON this show, Howdy Doody is quite a bit shorter than I remember. But he certainly has aged well. Rumour had it that he had a conract dispute that led to his firing from the show. He tried doing some film work but when the studios found out about his prison record they stopped the deal.
292x1 @tygersflowerz Andy Kaufman...a very creative man. Miss him too.
drawboy6x3 Wow. This actually almost made me cry. "
I found it touching, personally.
posted by The White Hat at 8:47 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, light jail sentences won't do it.

The potential rewards are huge; but the amount that these scum cost society is even larger.

It's no exaggeration to say that these evil bastards have cost literally billions of dollars and have cost millions of people days of their lives. A whole lifetime is only about 30,000 days! And worse, the people who get caught by this are the people who could disproportionately benefit from the internet, and instead are scared off and can't use it - the poor, the old, the stupid, the handicapped.

This won't stop until there are some serious jail sentences handed out.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:24 PM on April 18, 2010 [29 favorites]


(Crap - not enough sleep these days - that was in the wrong window...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:24 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found it touching, personally.

I wasn't exactly touched by it, but Kaufman was expressing seemingly innocent and good natured sentiment. It was just that it was Andy Kaufman, and not someone who didn't come with the enormous mental baggage that we have of him being someone who was always punking the audience. This was I think shot in 1977, however. That was just before his full-on campaign to confound everyone.

Still, he's having a touching moment with a block of wood and string. Kind of odd.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on April 18, 2010


I think lupus_yonderboy may have inadvertently created the Universal Metafilter Comment. He could put that under any post and it would fit just fine.
posted by lore at 9:49 PM on April 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


(Crap - not enough sleep these days - that was in the wrong window...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:24 AM on April 19 [+] [!]


Don't worry, I had a momentary bit of fun trying to suss out why you were so pissed at Howdy and Andy. The best I could come up with was that you were virulently opposed to man/puppet love, i.e. "God created Adam and Eve — not Adam, Fran, and Ollie!"

About the clip: This is one of my all-time favorite Andy Kaufman moments, and it's really emblematic of the sweet core of sincerity he had hidden under his multiple layers of obfuscation and irony.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:56 PM on April 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, having seen the biopic I completely understand how this was in a lot of ways the "real" Andy -- straightforward sentiment that was so sincere the audience didn't know what to make of it. A lot of his stuff has some basis in that, if you think about it.
posted by dhartung at 10:27 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's the Howdy Doody bit from Andy's network special, right? They re-ran that a lot around the time the "Man On The Moon" film came out - that could come out tomorrow and people would be blown away by it, I can't imagine what people thought in the 70s. Kaufman, in fact, only did Taxi on the condition that he could do this special, and that's the only reason it even aired.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:33 PM on April 18, 2010


I thought the clip ended with Andy putting Howdy back in his box, saying he had to go back into storage.
posted by anazgnos at 10:55 PM on April 18, 2010


Andy Kaufman has always struck me as a beautifully sincere individual. He's one person whose life's work thoroughly changed the way I viewed life, and society, and I love him for that. This Howdy Doody special was a part of that change for me.

I don't like that Andy Kaufman has been relegated to the status of "epic prankster". I especially hate that online he's called things like "the world's first troll". It goes so thoroughly against what Andy stood for, what he wanted out of his work.

He wasn't exactly a comedian. He was closer to a sleight-of-hand magician. He'd make parts of himself appear and disappear. Going all the way back to Foreign Man, his goal was not to hit a punch line but to create a memorable and profound experience. The way Foreign Man would get increasingly flustered, the way he'd bomb so terribly and irrevocably, so much that the audience would feel bad for his failures... and then how he'd turn around and become a perfect Elvis imitator. It was antihumor. A large part of comedy comes from tearing something down; Kaufman strove to build something up. He wanted sympathy for Foreign Man, and then delight at his reversal.

It's always made sense to me that Andy kept up his character so thoroughly. It wasn't that he was laughing behind our backs. It was that his work absolutely requires that uncertainty, that feeling of "Maybe nothing about this guy is what it seems to be". The instant you know it's an act, you can detach yourself from the moment and become an idle observer. So long as Andy kept up the mask, you couldn't do that. To some degree you still can't. A little part of me thinks he faked his death like he always promised. That's a part of it.

And so, for all the wildly elaborate lies, the goal was always to create this childlike delight. He wanted to create stories and scenarios that were near-magic. Like his show at Carnegie Hall where he took the entire audience out for milk and cookies afterward. Or his reading The Great Gatsby for aggravating lengths, then putting on a record of him reading The Great Gatsby more. It generates this feeling of absolute disbelief. Like, there's no way this should be happening. I have no idea why this should be happening.

So when I saw this Howdy Doody clip last year, it didn't surprise me in the least. Of course Andy has this painfully sincere love for a marionette he grew up with. Of course he has this affection so simplistic that it hardly seems adult. It takes a childlike innocence to pull off Andy's tricks, which would last for years and years without a break. If Andy was just a cynic messing with people, he'd have likely tired of the whole thing in advance.

I always wonder (and it always makes me cry to think) that it must have been immensely frustrating at times for Andy. I get a feeling the way most people talk about him that they simply don't understand what's going on in his mind. So he becomes just a weird guy who does weird things, to be lumped in with every other freak entertainer. I imagine that would feel terribly lonely at times.

Andy's particular form of art just moves me incredibly. That attempt at magic, at creating one memorable moment after another, gets me at a deeper level than stand-up comedy does, than most acting does. It gives me a certain carefree joy and, at times when I feel absolutely depressed about people and the world, the hope and the faith in humanity and decency, even in the face of something as plastic and market-controlled as television, that I can go back to appreciating people and not sneering at them.

Thanks for the post. It's been a little while since I went out to look for Andy Kaufman clips. If it wasn't so late at night I'd spring forth and start making tabs.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:10 PM on April 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


Lupus_Yonderboy: "I'm sorry, light jail sentences won't do it.

The potential rewards are huge; but the amount that these scum cost society is even larger.

It's no exaggeration to say that these evil bastards have cost literally billions of dollars and have cost millions of people days of their lives. A whole lifetime is only about 30,000 days! And worse, the people who get caught by this are the people who could disproportionately benefit from the internet, and instead are scared off and can't use it - the poor, the old, the stupid, the handicapped.

This won't stop until there are some serious jail sentences handed out."

This was obviously intended for the Laurence Welk thread
posted by The Potate at 2:44 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't say it better than Mory, but I also love Kaufman and appreciate his art. What I loved most about this clip was how he was actually freaking out Howdy Doody with his depth and sincerity.

"I was watching you just at the time when I could first percieve images, before I even knew what a television set was I was watching you, so, like, you're the first friend from television I ever had, and probably the closest I think. And I always wanted to meet you, and now I finally am."

"Well, Andy, um, I'm glad to meet you too!"

Howdy is from a straight time and a polite world, from before the flower children and Vietnam. He doesn't know how to deal with someone going so deep, with his heart right out on his sleeve... He doesn't want to reflect on the fact that he has impressed himself so deeply on the psyche of a newborn child. Keep it simple and keep it polite.

I think Fred Rogers would have been a much better role model for Andy, and would have treated him with more love and understanding.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:55 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Reminder to self: it is possible to generate a lot of favorites by posting angrily in the wrong thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:36 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reminder to self: it is possible to generate a lot of favorites by posting angrily in the wrong thread.

It helps to be hilarious about it. :)
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


previously :P

also fwiw...cheers!
posted by kliuless at 11:11 AM on April 25, 2010


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