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Dear Andy Kaufman I Hate Your Guts

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Introduction by Lynne Margulies
Forward by Bob Zmuda
Process Media

The late comedian Andy Kaufman was one of those talents that people either loved or hated. Whether he was portraying the socially inept immigrant Latka Gravas on the old sitcom Taxi or performing a twisted homage to Elvis on Saturday Night Live, there weren't many shades of gray to Kaufman's work. In fact, Kaufman stayed so much in character with whatever bit he was doing that many in the general public had a problem separating the man from the act, a subject that Michael Stipe addressed in R.E.M.'s hit "Man on the Moon." Those who didn't "get" Kaufman went totally nuts when, in 1979, he began a running gag on Saturday Night Live by launching into a derogatory tirade about women, saying how inferior they were to men and offering a cash reward of a thousand bucks to the first woman who could pin him in a wrestling match (he also said he'd shave his head if he lost and maybe even marry the woman who beats him.) The offer to wrestle was real but his portrayal of self as a stereotypical "male chauvinist pig" was satire. Kaufman kept the gag going for a couple years, actually wrestling and going undefeated. Through it all he was mining the situation for comedic material, keeping all of the letters he got in response to his challenge with the idea of compiling the most interesting pieces for a book, something that has now come to fruition posthumously in the form of Dear Andy Kaufman I Hate Your Guts. Some women took the shtick quite seriously, responding with comments like "you're nothing more than a spineless, debased tremulous ass!" But many of the women got the joke and wrote tongue-in-cheek letters full of name calling only to end their missive by saying how cute they thought Kaufman was. Andy got letters from women who couldn't spell or put two coherent sentences together, he got outright flirtatious invitations accompanied by racy pictures and he even got letters from a few men. Presented here in "scrapbook style," Dear Andy Kaufman makes for fun bathroom reading and a good conversation starter if left out on the coffee table for guests to see, especially among those who are old enough to remember the uproar that the whole stunt caused. For those who weren't around back then the introduction by Kaufman's lady friend Lynne Margulies does a good job of explaining how the whole thing came about. Kaufman died in 1984.


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