Review: Andy Kaufman World Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion DVD

STUDIO: Infinity | PRODUCER: Lynne Margulies | STARS: Andy Kaufman, Bob Zmuda, Lynne Margulies
4/27/10 | PRICE: DVD $19.98
BONUSES: text biography
SPECS: NR | 126 min. | Comedy| fullscreen | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Today’s “alternative” comedy circuit contains plenty of “meta” stand-ups who alienate their audiences, but no one in the annals of American humor was as hellbent on annoying his audience as the late comedian Andy Kaufman.

His strong cult following has seen several extremely rare clips appear on YouTube, from his first acting role as a teen to a bizarre guest appearance on an Eighties public-access show. The material on this disc has never been seen online, though, as it consists of Kaufman’s own tapes of his nightclub and arena appearances wrestling women.

Kaufman’s “inter-gender” wrestling matches were no doubt exciting to witness in person. Watching them on disc, however, one can easily see how the events were staged — the shorter matches in arenas were more spontaneous, while the longer bouts in nightclubs play as completely faked, with Kaufman endlessly grappling his more attractive “shill” opponents.

The golden moments in this independent film are the ones in which Kaufman establishes his “heel” persona with mic work intended to taunt every female in the audience. The best of these verbal provocations were already included in the seminal Kaufman wrestling doc, I’m From Hollywood.

Producer Lynne Margulies, Kaufman’s former girlfriend, and his conspirator/“referee” Bob Zmuda, are seen in overlit video footage discussing the fact that Andy embarked on the “inter-gender” bit because he was greatly aroused by women wrestlers. Perhaps this falls under the heading of “too much information,” but it does explain why he pushed the shtick for so long (1979-83).


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.