|David Letterman Interviewing Andy Kaufman
LETTERMAN: He stars on the series "Taxi" as Latka. However, he has not been on television much lately. He's been, I guess, busy doing other things. Nonetheless, I'm glad that he has agreed to be with us here this morning. Please welcome Mr. Andy Kaufman.
(Andy, looking very bedraggled, enters wearing a pink sportcoat, yellow pants, blue plaid shirt, orange t-shirt. He is totally unkempt-clothes wrinkled, face unshaven, hair uncombed. He sits next to Dave looking utterly clueless and as though he might keel over at any second. His eyelids are heavy, he has a hacking cough, and there is a mucus-like substance on his upper lip)
Andy, I really appreciate you being here this morning. It's nice to see you. Tell me about "Taxi." (close-up of Andy with a runny nose) Would you like a tissue? Can I -- would you like a tissue? So tell me about-see, people sometimes eat breakfast while they're watching the show. Now, there was a TV strike, you know, and some shows were not in production, but now they're going back into production, and are you gonna--I guess, are you gonna be on "Taxi"? You mentioned before the show, there are some problems?
KAUFMAN: Yeah, I quit the show.
LETTERMAN: You quit the show?
LETTERMAN: You're no longer gonna be on "Taxi"?
LETTERMAN: You have your own show?
KAUFMAN: No ... I'm not doing much special right now. This is -- you know, I'm once in a while making appearances, like on this show here.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, I know you're probably going to do movies.
LETTERMAN: And I guess you'll be -- you used to be on "Saturday Night Live" an awful lot, so --
KAUFMAN: I don't know. I really don't have any control of that. If they asked me, I would do it, but I don't -- there's nothing planned right now in the near future.
LETTERMAN: You doing a lot of nightclubs, though?
KAUFMAN: Occasionally appearing at The Improvisation in New York. That's the place I started out at.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah.
KAUFMAN: Not really much. I'm living in New York now.
LETTERMAN: Mmm-hmm. But things are okay.
LETTERMAN: I see now a woman mentioned you --
Can I get you a mint? Yeah, I know you wanted to--you're going to do a little piece for us this morning. Do you want to go to that now? What do you want to do?
KAUFMAN: If you'd like. I can --
LETTERMAN: We have a stool there, you want to do it?
KAUFMAN: Thank you.
LETTERMAN: Thank you. Andy Kaufman, ladies and gentlemen.
KAUFMAN: I'd like to--before I begin, I would like to just say thank you very much to David Letterman and the producers of this show, and the people that run this show for having me as a guest. And it's a very--pleasure to come on this show and be here. I'd like to talk about my marriage. I met my wife several years ago, when I was struggling in New York, performing every night at The Improvisation nightclub. I would perform every night for free, and once in a while, I would get jobs elsewhere for maybe 50 dollars a night, and stuff.
And I met her while I was driving up from southern New Jersey one time. She was a cocktail waitress. And we went out a few times, fell in love, and got married. And she kind of, she worked as a waitress while I was working for free in nightclubs. And we lived together right outside of New York City, and we had two children. And--names were Mark and Lisa. And ... "Saturday Night Live" (coughs)--(audience laughter) discovered me. I'm--I'd rather ... if you don't laugh, because I'm not trying to be funny right now.
And shortly after that I went to California, and things really started happening. I started--I had a manager. I got a manager--Shapiro, West, and Associates. George Shapiro is a wonderful man. And he was my manager for the next few years. And then "Taxi" came along. And I was doing all these far-out things on television shows, but when "Taxi" came along, it was just one character, Latka, and I kind of felt inhibited by it, but, you know, I was just able to do the one character. I wanted to have more freedom creatively to do these other things, and--the things I used to do on "Saturday Night Live" and stuff....
So anyway, I quit the show, and my wife--At that time, I was wrestling women on "Saturday Night Live," and I got a lot of hate mail, and no producer would hire me after that. So one day I was at my manager's office, trying to get an engagement for a dinner theater in Wisconsin, and I got a call from my wife's lawyer. She wanted a divorce. She got a divorce. She got the kids, the house, she got all my money. Well, not all my money, but some anyway. She got everything. I moved to New York. And now--that's what I'm doing now--living in New York, and--I don't really have anything. (Coughs)
So anyway, if anybody could -- I know this sounds like a cliché, but if you could send your extra money, I would appreciate it. Thank you very much.
(Andy rises from stool and with outstretched palm, walks out into the audience and begins panhandling. A security guard grabs him by arm, they argue quietly, and Andy is ushered out of the theater)
LETTERMAN: Always a pleasure to have the young talent on the show. We'll be right back.
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