(Blogged at 4am...please pardon any typos or any other rambling unreadables!)
Tonight, or more accurately yesterday, was the 20th Anniversary of Andy Kaufman's death (or "death", depending on your point of view). If this is your first time hearing about this, check this entry first.
If you're caught up on any of this, you know that I was too late to purchase the $50 SRO tickets for the "Andy Kaufman Dead or Alive?" event at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Here's a report from someone who did see the show. Well, "Act 1", anyway...apparently the only one I missed.
Orchestrated by Andy's co-writer and friend Bob Zmuda, the show was to have let out at midnight and so I was keeping on eye on some of the Message Boards and Chat Rooms where some of the folks who did have tickets (and were flying in from across the country to see the show!) were supposed to report in as soon as the "event" let out to report if, in fact, Andy had showed up.
As of 12:15pm, nothing...and I mentioned to someone in the Chat Room that I should just drive over there and see what's going on. Suffice to say, I was then harranged by the folks in the room to do just that.
Despite having just taken a coupla Exedrin P.M., my curiosity got the worst of me, and I headed over.
The street in front of the House of Blues was quiet, but I found one person who had just gotten out of the show. He said they moved across the street for "Act 2" - Milk and Cookies at the Comedy Store (Andy had done the same thing for his audience after his famous Carnegie Hall show). He also told me there was a wrestling ring set up.
I found a place to park, and walked right in to the "After Party" at the Comedy Store.
There were girls in the first room, which was mostly empty, offering Milk and Cookies. The crowd was in the next room where Tony Clifton was introducing some wrestlers.
After 15 minutes of three guys in chicken suits wrestling a couple of hispanic queens, four women came in and finished them all off. Somehow the chickens came back, however, and so Jerry Lawler (famously having pile-drived Kaufman many years ago) came out and finished off all the chickens to much approval by the Kaufman fans assembled.
Clifton then came back out and told folks that Andy not only brought the Carnegie audience out for Milk and Cookies after the show, but he then invited anybody who wanted to show up at 8am the next morning for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. About 30 folks showed up, and Andy bought them Chocolate Cake.
Clifton would out do him, he told the crowd, as he announced "Act 3"...wherein the legendary porn star Ron Jeremy came out with a sign, also held by Dennis Hof, who is apparently the owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada. Act 3 will be tomorrow night (actually tonight, I guess) for anybody who can make it to the Bunny Ranch for free....whatever you like...between 8pm and Midnight.
Before you run up there, please note, you'll need to show your ticket stub to receive your freebie. (I don't have one, since I didn't get to the actual show, so it looks like I'm outta luck). A few Bunny Ranch denizens then took off their top and invited everyone to come on up tomorrow night for all they could eat.
Clifton then thanked everyone for coming and wished everybody a good night.
10 minutes or so later, as the crowd had thinned to about a third of it's original Act 2 size, Clifton once again took the mic, and said that "now that all the loooosers...who hadda go to be had left"...he was pleased to announce "Act 4"! Right now.
Whoever would like to join was invited to grab a candle for a vigil on the sidewalk. And then, anyone interested was invited to take the 10 minute walk down to Andy's old apartment, which is now apparently a condo. The owners were kind enough to allow folks to come on up, as long as everyone was quiet (mind you, we're now talking about 2am on a Sunday night / Monday morning).
I took the walk with the 75 folks or so who were still game down to Fountain and La Cienega. Only 20 or so could go in at a time (Suite #409 for you die-hards), where they had brought a bunch of old Andy memorabilia up there for display (original Tony Clifton costumes, original Foreign Man costumes, photos, scripts, etc.)
While waiting to go in, "Clifton" answered all questions about Kaufman and told various Andy stories. Most of which I'm too exhausted to report to you tonight. Suffice to say "Clifton" (a character played by Andy, now inhabited by Zmuda) was very generous to all who where there. (And at the prices they charged for the show, where Andy never showed up, that's the least he could be!)
Oh, yeah, Andy did show up...but it was Andy Dick, and he was trashed as he also hung around with Clifton and the crowd on the streets in the early Hollywood a.m.
Suffice to say though, it was an interesting night...especially since I was reporting on the phone much of the time to someone who was in the Chat Room that had volunteered to type away as I described what was going on. That unedited Chat Room transcript is here if you'd like to slog through it for the real blow-by-blow as "ks76r" (aka Mike) was kind enough to transcribe it all to the room from his comfortable post in Topeka, Kansas --- apparently where he was up all night folding laundry as the sun was rising
Unless he shows up at "Act 3" tomorrow night (not an unreasonable place for Andy to show up) it would appear that --- as of this hour --- Andy Kaufman is still dead.
Thanks for the memories, Uncle Andy. And for the milk and cookies.