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Some comedians talk about killing the audience. Andy Kaufman wanted audiences to kill him. Mechanic Latkas Gravas, the role he played on Taxi, brought Kaufman the mainstream commercial success he so disdained. Latka was an outgrowth of the Foreign Man character with which Kaufman befuddled audiences early in his career. The "cute little foreigner" (as he derisively calls himself in "Latka the Playboy," the must-own episode included on Volume 2) is seen to good advantage in two episodes from Taxi's first season. In the poignant "Paper Marriage," Latka faces deportation unless he gets married. The cabbies hire a Times Square hooker to be his bride. This landmark episode marks the first appearance of Christopher Lloyd's Reverend Jim, a derelict who performs the bogus ceremony and, surprisingly, rises to the occasion ("Bet you all thought I was gonna screw up"). Lloyd joined what was already one of TV's best ensembles the next season. In "Mama Gravas," immigrant Latka is visited by his mother, a buxom, earthy beauty who takes a liking to Alex. Though Alex tries to resist her ("She was like an animal. A great one"), the two make "nik nik." When Latka learns of the affair, he insists he and Alex can no longer be friends. Taxi fans will hail this video. These are not just good Latka episodes. They rank among the best of the series. --Donald LiebensonFrom the Back Cover:
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