Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells All

Bob with Matthew Scott Hansen Zmuda

Published by Little, Brown & Co
ISBN 10: 0446923494 / ISBN 13: 9780446923491
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Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Best known for his sweet-natured character Latka on Taxi, Andy Kaufman was the most influential comic of the generation that produced David Letterman, John Belushi, and Robin Williams. A regular on the early days of Saturday Night Live (where he regularly disrupted planned skits), Kaufman quickly became known for his idiosyncratic roles and for performances that crossed the boundaries of comedy, challenging expectations and shocking audiences. Kaufman's death from lung cancer at age 35 (he'd never smoked) stunned his fans and the comic community that had come to look to him as its lightning rod and standard bearer.

Bob Zmuda -- Kaufman's closest friend, producer, writer, and straight man -- breaks his twenty-year silence about Kaufman and unmasks the man he knew better than anyone. He chronicles Kaufman's meteoric rise, the development of his extraordinary personas, the private man behind the driven actor and comedian, and answers the question most often asked: Did Andy Kaufman fake his own death?

Review: American comedian Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) was a performer like no other--a rule-breaking iconoclast who blurred the line between performance art and comedy, at times between life and art itself. Misunderstood by the public at large during his lifetime, and embraced by a cult of fans that has consistently grown since his premature death from cancer, Kaufman is the perfect counter-cultural martyr, ripe for a Gap khakis ad. Like Lenny Bruce before him, Kaufman chafed at the reigns of comedy; he didn't always want to make people laugh, in fact he wished to make them uncomfortable. One might consider those notorious French bad-boy playwrights Alfred Jarry and Antonin Artaud (who pushed the envelope of good taste and thoroughly enjoyed confusing their audiences) to be Kaufman's spiritual predecessors, though this might be taking things too seriously. His most well-known routines--the inept stand-up comedian "foreign man," the basis for the character Latka Gravas on the hit sitcom "Taxi"; the grizzled, professional lounge lizard Tony Clifton; and the reigning world champion of inter-gender wrestling--all hinged on making the crowd squirm. Life was a show for Kaufman, who began staging elaborate shows for friends and family at the age of 7; everything was a put-on and yet totally, dead-on serious.

Judging by Bob Zmuda's book (released in anticipation of a biographical movie starring Jim Carrey), Kaufman wasn't the easiest guy to be a best friend to. But, as Zmuda tells things, he rose to the challenge--letting Kaufman confide that he had a daughter he'd never seen, keeping his mouth shut at the appropriate times, and otherwise fulfilling best-friend duties with aplomb. Andy Kaufman got the friend he deserved in his lifetime, but this is not the biography he deserves; it is written in a well-meaning though hackneyed and hard-to-digest style. Simple points are made again and again, as if the two(!) authors were attempting to fuse a poorly-written college essay with a USA Today article. And Mr. Zmuda makes the mistake of assuming that his own history will be of much interest to the reader, who is ostensibly reading a tell-all about Kaufman, not his best friend. There are tremendous anecdotes here; about half the book is filled with glorious tales of artful mischief, hijinks, pranks, and funny stuff that Zmuda and Kaufman pulled on friends, crowds, and strangers. Fans will undoubtedly want to pick this one up, while those with a more casual interest are cautioned to perhaps look elsewhere for a less clumsily written tome. --Mike McGonigal

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells ...
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co
Binding: Unknown Binding
Book Condition: VERY GOOD

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Zmuda, Bob with Matthew Scott Hansen; Jim Carrey (backword)
Published by Little, Brown and Co., Boston, Massachusetts (1999)
ISBN 10: 0316681237 ISBN 13: 9780316681230
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Book Description Little, Brown and Co., Boston, Massachusetts, 1999. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good+. First Edition, 1st Printing. Light bump to upper corner of rear board, and yellowing of edges of text block. DJ with light rubs to corners and head of spine panel, and small spots of soil on reverse of upper edge of rear panel. Indexed. Bookseller Inventory # 10165

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Zmuda, Bob with Matthew Scott Hansen
Published by Little Brown and Co, Boston (1999)
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Book Description Little Brown and Co, Boston, 1999. Original Cloth. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. 306pp. Illustrated. Text browned. Small stain to the fore edge of the back endpaper. Size: 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 017544

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