When Andy Kaufman succumbed by surprise to lung melanoma in 1984, a few of his enthusiasts believed that his loss of life used to be another intricate prank. Over the former decade, Kaufman had completed inconceivable reputation for his strange antiperformances—lip-synching the potent Mouse subject matter music, examining The nice Gatsby
aloud in its entirety while humans anticipated comedy, asking viewers individuals to the touch a boil on his neck—that at a loss for words, frustrated, or angry his viewers.
In Andy Kaufman, Florian Keller explores Kaufman’s profession 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 understand his radical time table past avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his id underneath a multiplicity of personas, enacting the yank trust that the self can and may be without end remade for the sake of happiness and luck. He did this so carefully and continually, Keller argues, that he uncovered the interior contradictions of America’s ideology of self-invention.
Keller posits that Kaufman provided a considerably different—and maybe extra potent—logic of cultural feedback than did extra openly political comedians reminiscent of Lenny Bruce. featuring shut readings of Kaufman’s most vital performances, Keller indicates how Kaufman mounted—for the good thing about a regularly uncomprehending public—a sustained and noteworthy critique of America’s obsession with star and individualism.
Florian Keller is a fellow on the Institute of Cultural stories, college of paintings and layout, college of technologies and humanities, Zurich.