Sunday, January 3, 2010

Uncle John hated Andy Kaufman

This is just a random memory that popped into my head this morning and made me laugh, so I wanted to write it down.

When I was a kid at some family gathering at my parent's house in the Bronx, our rich Uncle John the retired banker was one of the guests. He sat in my father's comfortable Archie Bunker chair and, since he had a captive audience, he began to pontificate on the state of culture and the media, which he thought were in terrible shape.

To illustrate his point that our entire society had gone to hell in a handbasket, he described in detail the Andy Kaufman Mighty Mouse routine. He had seen it on Johnny Carson or Dick Van Dyke or Johnny Cash or something, NOT on Saturday Night Live. He did not remember Kaufman's name, he just referred to him as "this fellow." If you can imagine a distinguished-looking white haired republican with a well-manicured mustache livid with furious anger describing in minute detail every aspect of the Mighty Mouse routine, you've got the picture. I was rolling on the floor. I mean that literally-- I had been sitting on the floor when he began his tirade. I remember he ended by saying incredulously, "THIS is what passes for ENTERTAINMENT nowadays!"

I told him excitedly, "I saw him do that routine on Saturday Night Live! He's one of my favorite comedians!"

Uncle John never liked me.

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