By Florian Keller
While Andy Kaufman succumbed unexpectedly to lung melanoma in 1984, a few of his enthusiasts believed that his loss of life was once another difficult prank. Over the former decade, Kaufman had accomplished inconceivable status for his weird and wonderful antiperformances lip-synching the effective Mouse subject matter track, examining "The nice Gatsby" aloud in its entirety while humans anticipated comedy, asking viewers participants to the touch a boil on his neck that at a loss for words, frustrated, or indignant his audience.
In "Andy Kaufman," Florian Keller explores Kaufman s occupation inside a broader dialogue of the ideology of the yank Dream. Taking as his place to begin the 1999 biopic "Man at the Moon," Keller brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a fashion that makes it attainable to know his radical time table past avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his id underneath a multiplicity of personas, enacting the yankee trust that the self can and may be forever remade for the sake of happiness and good fortune. He did this so conscientiously and continuously, Keller argues, that he uncovered the interior contradictions of the USA s ideology of self-invention.
Keller posits that Kaufman provided a notably diversified and maybe stronger common sense of cultural feedback than did extra openly political comedians equivalent to Lenny Bruce. providing shut readings of Kaufman s most vital performances, Keller exhibits how Kaufman fastened for the advantage of a regularly uncomprehending public a sustained and memorable critique of the US s obsession with big name and individualism.
Florian Keller is a fellow on the Institute of Cultural reports, institution of paintings and layout, college of technologies and humanities, Zurich."
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Additional resources for Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream
140) This argument about Kaufman’s strategies of refusal is easily supported. Not surprisingly, Auslander invokes Kaufman’s British Man character, who would do nothing but present a reading from F. 7 As far as undermining the audience’s expectations is concerned, this was clearly one of Kaufman’s most notorious stunts, and Auslander is certainly right to state that this constituted a violation of “every expectation of what he, as a comic, was supposed to deliver” (140). Incidentally, though, what Auslander misses here is that Kaufman’s reading act later developed into a slightly more elaborate form when British Man made his appearance on Saturday Night Live and recited from The Great Gatsby on live television.
He said ‘Thank you’ every time” (2001, 234). This scene not only questions the conventional relationship between the entertainer and his audience, but it shows Kaufman as a performer who faithfully enacts what is commonly understood as an empty rhetorical gesture. Thus, it preWgures the notion of literalism, which will be one of the crucial points of my thesis about Kaufman. But for now, let me brieXy return to Auslander’s analysis, the speciWc focus of which is on Kaufman’s performance art as a deconstructionist critique of a tradition of performance that privileges presence.
The extimate 46 – THE LIMITS OF TRANSGRESSION is simultaneously the intimate kernel and the foreign body” (1991, 6). Thus, Lacan’s concept of the extimate marks that topological point where what we perceive to be the deWning element of our innermost self-identity suddenly becomes something radically foreign, and what we presume to be the core of our subjectivity turns into an “other” that fundamentally unsettles our sense of self-consistency. ” On the contrary, the trouble may well have been that Kaufman’s strange performances were too uncannily familiar in the context of American culture, because what Kaufman staged, however in an excessively literal way, was precisely the ideological core text that deWnes America’s cultural identity.