Foreign Man
An oral history of Andy Kaufman.


Lorne Michaels: When he agreed to a situation comedy, we were stunned. We couldn’t understand why in the world. Because he was Andy Kaufman. Going from being that far out of the mainstream to being ground zero of it. Not that Taxi isn’t a good show. But in the pure world of status, he was regarded as a genius. So for a genius to be the 4th lead in a situation comedy was not, at the time, seen to be an act of genius.


Bob Zmuda: The show was so well received in in L.A., we moved it to Carnegie Hall. We had 35 buses take everyone to the New York School of Printing. I had little chairs and tables set up -- I rented stuff from kindergartens -- so the audience were like big babies. We had magicians and sword swallowers and hula girls. But nobody was fucking leaving the party. I said, Andy, we've got to pull the plug. I said tell them to go home and sleep and that act three is going to continue on the Staten Island ferry tomorrow morning at 8 am . So everyone got on the buses and went home. The next morning at the hotel there's a knock at my door and Kaufman is in his bathrobe, and he says "do you think anyone going to show up at the ferry?" I said everybody knows it was a joke, but then I'm thinking, what if there's like one reporter there? So we get a cab, we go down there. And, this didn't get into the movie, but I think it was the greatest moment in Andy's life, 350 people from the night before were standing there waiting for him. He was tearing up. It was unbelievable. Of course he bought a ferry ticket for every one of them and bought them ice cream cones, and wrestled, like, a dozen women on the deck.