Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

Andy Kaufman And Another Famous Prankster

Sunday, August 12, 2012

this entry brought to you by modest mouse, "spitting venom"

For those of you who have never heard of Andy Kaufman, here is a brief explanation.

In the 1970s in comedy clubs in New York, he would be introduced and would come on stage as this foreign man. He was completely oblivious, completely unaware of how little he fit in. With a meek voice and demeanor, nervous, he would say "Hallo. I would like to do an eempression of Preseedent Richard Neexon."

He would bow his head a bit, then say, "Hallo. I am Preseedent Richard Neexon."

The audience doesn't laugh.


The crowd, of course, doesn't know this guy isn't foreign, assumes he's really some guy up on stage at the improv, and initially think he's cute and wants to give him a chance. But as time keeps going by and he's doing more and more ridiculous impressions, they become increasingly impatient.

Then Kaufman pulls out a record player, and says he would like to sing his favorite song. He puts on a record, and it's the Mighty Mouse theme. Except he doesn't know the words. He only knows the "Here I come to save the day!" part, and during the rest of the song, he waits with gleeful anticipation, waiting for the one part he knows.

Other than the inherent cuteness of a meek foreign guy oblivious to how awful he is, by now the audience has grown restless, not sure how much longer this idiot's going to be on stage.

Then the foreign guy says "I would like to do an eempression of Elvis Pressley."

Then Kaufman turns around, away from the audience, turns back around, and bam, does the absolute best Elvis impersonation you've ever seen. It's pitch perfect, he's got all the mannerisms down, it's perfect. And the audience bursts into cheers. And right when you think, okay, so all along this guy was a professional, he did this on purpose, he knows what he's doing, he goes back into his meek stage presence and says, "Thankyouverymuch."

Leaving you to wonder, was the whole thing an act? Was this a real comedian who was intentionally bombing, only to set up this closer that you couldn't possibly see coming? Or was this a legitimate foreign guy, who somehow managed to get a good Elvis impersonation, but has no idea that the rest of his act was legitimately that bad?

And of course, the former is true. Kaufman is a comedian. And even though he got famous, his entire career was built around fucking with his audience, making them wonder if he was an insane person who somehow got famous, or a Jedi-like prankster, who didn't really care about self-sabotage, and only cared about amusing himself?

This is exactly what I think Ann Coulter is.

She is an improv comic, and an especially dark one at that. But the fact that she's a comic pulling a prank just seems more and more obvious, and she seems to be getting a huge thrill that she can literally say anything and nobody calls her out on it. It's not that hosts don't sometimes say "C'mon, Anne, you can't really think that," they do occasionally. But nobody calls her out on not believing anything she says. Which isn't to say that I don't think Ann Coulter is a secret liberal; I think the person playing the Ann Coulter character is legitimately a conservative. But she's probably a moderate conservative, acutely aware of the fringe of her party and is clearly embodying a cartoon version of that because she thinks it's fun to be a heel. It's not that I think she's a shock personality like a Howard Stern, I think she is a completely fictional character.

Sometimes it seems, over the course of a show she'll be on, she'll go continually over the top within the same segment. She sometimes almost seems annoyed at the fact that nobody seems to get the joke. But she can't break character, because then where would the fun come from? So she just sits there, half annoyed and half utterly amused at the fact that she can just continually raise the bar wherever she wants, and the host will generally just shrug and say "Well, that's Anne Coulter! Love her or hate her, you can't deny that she's provocative!"

And Coulter seems to grin at the screen saying "Can you believe this shit? I mean, really, I've been doing this for over ten years."


with love from CRS @ 2:13 PM 


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