by Regis Boff
I saw this show in 1979. Kaufman was on the same label of a band I worked for at the time. The short of it is it was a show so unusual that it was never repeated. I mention it now only because it was the only time I ever saw Robin Williams live. He is not alive anymore and that is a pity. Maybe making us all happy was not enough anymore for him.
“Bob Zmuda, Andy Kaufman’s best friend and cowriter, describes the final 12 or 15 hours of Andy’s show at Carnegie Hall in 1979:
The first act ended with the 350-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir (impersonators, but who’s counting) entering through the back doors and caroling down the aisles, the New York City Rockettes (likewise) entering from the wings, the real Santa Claus riding through on his sleigh, and Andy’s Grandma Pearl — who’d been sitting onstage on her own sofa for over two hours — ripping off her face to reveal that she was actually Robin Williams. Act 2: The audience of 2,800 boarded a herd of buses and were driven in the rain to the New York School of Printing, where they were seated in kindergarten chairs and given milk and cookies while snake charmers and sword swallowers performed, and Andy wrestled all interested female attendees. It got close to 2 a.m., the hour when the bus company would start charging serious overtime fees, so, to clear the crowd, Andy announced Act 3: The show would continue the next day at 1 p.m. on the Staten Island Ferry. Andy and Bob hadn’t actually planned anything there, but just in case anyone believed them, they figured they should show up — a good idea, since when they arrived at 1:20 they found about 350 people from the night before, waiting, as Zmuda puts it, “with smiles on their faces like little kids.” Andy proceeded to buy each person a roundtrip ticket and an ice cream cone, and, again, to wrestle all interested female attendees.”