James Burrows on Andy Kaufman

It occurred to me tonight, as I was standing on the stage at the Dreamland Theater, rehearsing Friday’s show, that it had been a while since I’d posted anything on the site about Andy Kaufman. And, here, to remedy that, is a short interview with television director James Burrows, on that infamous day when Andy visited the set of “Taxi” as Tony Clifton.

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  1. Knox
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Word is that Tony Danza wanted to beat the shit out of Andy that day when Clifton stopped production.

  2. Kim
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    From Andy’s writing partner, Bob Zmuda:

    You see, Andy’s Tony Clifton really came out of the fact that Andy was so pissed at Hollywood. The artist in him was pissed that he had sold out Latka — because he was a real personality inside Andy’s head. He made up this little character and discovered a real voice for him — and then he made the guy work nine to five. He wasn’t the foreign man anymore. He was Latka Gravas, the zany mechanic on the TV sitcom. And Andy just hated that.

    So with Tony he really raged at Hollywood. When Tony went on Dinah Shore and when he was on Taxi — any time there was a Tony appearance by Andy in town, they literally had to throw him off the fucking set, throw him out the front gate of the studio.

    Although, strangely enough, he did Tony once on the Miss Piggy Special, and we went to Montreal or wherever they shot it. But Tony was a sweetheart — because it wasn’t Hollywood. The Muppets loved Tony. So, it had something to do with Andy’s hate for celebrity, and what he had become, and the whole show business big business package that he did not want to have to be a part of.


  3. KT72
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Have you read about the script that Kaufman and Zmuda wrote for Tony? It’s amazing.

  4. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    You can read about the script here:


  5. Carroll B. Merriman
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Kaufman is alive. He’s Victoria Jackson.

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