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DVD Review: Andy Kaufman: World Inter-Gender Champion

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I never get tired of watching Andy Kaufman, although his recorded legacy is actually pretty slim. Outside of Taxi and a couple of forgettable movies, his best stuff was on late night TV shows. There was his famous "Mighty Mouse" appearance on the very first Saturday Night Live, and every visit to David Letterman's program was hilarious. Best of all was when he wrestled.

I'm From Hollywood (1989) is a great documentary about Kaufman's legendary feud with wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler. The two played it up so well that almost everyone believed it to be real. The premise was basically that Lawler had gotten fed up with Kaufman only wrestling women, and wanted to teach him a lesson. The rest is history, and I highly recommend the DVD.

Andy Kaufman: World Inter-Gender Champion is a chronicle of Andy's experiences wrestling women. Inter-Gender Champion recycles a lot of material previously used in I'm From Hollywood. Segments where Kaufman gives women "credit" for being good at peeling the potatoes and mopping the floors are still hilarious. They always seemed to rile up the audience at his shows.

In fact, Andy Kaufman was something of a master at "cutting a promo," wrestling lingo for baiting the crowd. Watching him stand in front of a sold-out Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, telling everyone to shut up is great. Then he really gets going, "I will give any woman who can pin me $1,000 in cash, plus I will shave my head bald, and offer her my hand in marriage!" Priceless.

In December 2009 Cinefamily presented an "Andy Kaufman Tribute," in Los Angeles. Andy's co-conspirator Bob Zmuda explained what the wrestling was all about. "It was a way for Andy to get dates," said Zmuda, "He would have the woman down and start whispering to her how he wanted to see her after the show. The women were floored; they had taken all the stuff he said earlier seriously."

The second hour of Andy Kaufman: World Inter-Gender Champion consists of two 1979 appearances at The Comedy Store in L.A. Andy had these recorded using primitive VHS equipment, they were originally just for his own collection and the quality is pretty poor. It is fascinating raw footage of him riling up the audience, and wrestling various women though.

The only bonus feature is a text biography of Kaufman, with a listing of his movie and TV appearances. Andy Kaufman: World Inter-Gender Champion is for hardcore fans like myself. To be honest, they were kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one. But for fans, it is recommended.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    you need to go on youtube and find clips of Zmuda as Tony Clifton from that Cinefamily show. It was shocking and hysterical.

    Have to check this out

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I’d get this just to have all those bits with Lawler from Mid-South wrestling in one place. Absolutely priceless stuff…

    Will also have to check out the Tony Clifton stuff on YouTube as per El B’s suggestion. That was stuff was pretty hilarious too as I recall.

    -Glen

  • Greg Barbrick

    Thanks guys, I am headed over to YouTube right now.