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Once they're hooked, they won't let you stop. "You want to be happy for him, this overgrown child, but something holds you back. And what could be more unexpected than a comedian coming out for ten minutes and not being funny at all? I see that Clifton has taken off his shirt, and with it, about sixty pounds."You must really sweat out there," I observe."Who is this?! "Get him out of here."" magazine but figures he can use the ink. Then Kaufman increases the pressure by counting back up for a few bottles, whispering a little, now singing again. Then this other little voice says, ' Try it.' And most of the time, when the voice comes on and says, ' No,' that's the time it works." He is speechless for a moment "There are such psychological implications to that song, such great things you can do. He has stumbled onto a secret of comedy: the unexpected is funny. After the show, Clifton is still bellowing in his dressing room, vowing, "I'll punish those people for not letting me sing my songs."I knock on Clifton's door, which is opened by Kaufman's manager, George Shapiro. Andy says he is glad to help the guy's career, but sick of taking raps for his bad behavior. "Someone on the staff of promoter Bill Graham, who booked the show, seemingly had the same problem. "He was real eager to get the hate mail," says Letterman. "Sometimes, when you look Andy in the eyes, you get a feeling somebody else is driving."The story has been circulating around New York clubs of a woman who wasn't sure just which Andy Kaufman she had brought home on their first and only date. Clifton was an atrocious happy-hour gargoyle with pipes so bad he could make dogs yelp in pain. Inspired, Andy got himself some dime-store makeup, a bad wig, sunglasses and a peach-flocked tuxedo jacket with a bordello-parlor pattern, and worked the bit into his club act Now that he can afford to pay for an opening act, he says, he stopped doing the imitation and hired the real thing, the original Tony Clifton.
"I read where you gave a show at Carnegie Hall and took the audience out for milk and cookies," she said. This year, he plans to complete his third novel (none published), which he describes as "the story of a man's life from start to finish." When ABC's hit sitcom (he plays the timid but sex-crazed immigrant mechanic Latka Gravas) lets out for the summer, he'd like to make a ninety-nine-cent national tour "so everybody can afford to see me." Heartbeeps, in which he costars with Bernadette Peters, will be released later in the year, and he hopes to wrap up a screenplay, , for Universal. Perhaps it was the stubborn rumor that, disguised as Tony Clifton, he threw eggs at Dinah Shore. I met her several years ago while I was struggling . "He's a real champion of theirs, and he believes in meaningful relationships with them." The subject first came up, Arkush says, when he asked Andy how he spent his time off. "You print that I'm Andy Kough-man and I'll sue yer ass! Of her three children — Michael, Carol and Andy — she acknowledges that Andy would have to be considered the Problem Child. One of the regular young comics is down on his knees in front of the stage: "Don't stop, Andy, I'm gonna cum." Andy massages the cadence — faster, then slower, then faster again. Why don't you go home and drink a beer and watch football?