Lost in the funhouse: the life and mind of Andy Kaufman

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Delacorte Press, Oct 1, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
19 Reviews
From renowned journalist Bill Zehme, author of theNew York TimesbestsellingThe Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin', comes the first full-fledged biography and the only complete story of the late comic genius Andy Kaufman. Based on six years of research, Andy's own unpublished, never-before-seen writings, and hundreds of interviews with family members, friends, and key players in Andy's endless charades, many of whom have become icons in their own right,Lost in the Funhousetakes us through the maze of Kaufman's mind and lets us sit deep behind his mad, dazzling blue eyes to see, firsthand, the fanciful landscape that was his life. Controversial, chaotic, splendidly surreal, and tragically brief--what a life it was. Andy Kaufman was often a mystery even to his closest friends. Remote, aloof, impossible to know, his internal world was a kaleidoscope of characters fighting for time on the outside. He was as much Andy Kaufman as he was Foreign Man (dank you veddy much), who became the lovably bashful Latka on the hit TV seriesTaxi.He was as much Elvis Presley as he was the repugnant Tony Clifton, a lounge singer from Vegas who hated any audience that came to see him and who seemed to hate Andy Kaufman even more. He was a contradiction, a paradox on every level, an artist in every sense of the word. During the comic boom of the seventies, when the world had begun to discover the prodigious talents of Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Bill Murray, and so many others, Andy was simply doing what he had always done in his boyhood reveries. On the debut ofSaturday Night Live,he stood nervously next to a phonograph that scratchily played the theme from Mighty Mouse. He fussed and fidgeted, waiting for his moment. When it came, he raised his hand and moved his mouth to the words "Here I come to save the day!" In that beautiful deliverance of pantomime before the millions of people for whom he had always dreamed about performing, Andy triumphed. He changed the face of comedy forever by lurching across boundaries that no one knew existed. He was the boy who made life his playground and never stopped playing, even when the games proved too dangerous for others. And in the end he would play alone, just as he had when it was all only beginning. InLost in the Funhouse, Bill Zehme sorts through a life of disinformation put forth by a master of deception to uncover the motivation behind the manipulation. Magically entertaining, it is a singular biography matched only by its singular subject.

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Review: Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman

User Review  - Jay Wigley - Goodreads

Such a joy--Bill Zehme amazingly writes in what you'd imagine would be the style of Andy Kaufman, if Andy could connect a pen directly to his brain. This is what a biography should be--thoroughly ... Read full review

Review: Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman

User Review  - Carlos Aguirre - Goodreads

Interesting tale and interestingly told about a very eccentric man. I never saw Man on the Moon and never wanted to. I'm not a Jim Carrey fan at all and would rather watch clips of Andy himself rather ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Bill Zehme is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'. Recognized among the nation's more unique interpreters of popular culture, he is a longtime writer at large for Esquire, and his impressionistic profiles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Vanity Fair. During the six years of research for Lost in the Funhouse, he served as supervising producer of the network television retrospective Taxi: A Celebration and consulting producer of the NBC-TV special A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman. He lives in Chicago.

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