Grantland’s Alex Pappademas writes about Andy Kaufman, his legacy and his posthumous album Andy and His Grandmother:
In a sense Kaufman was the last comedian ever who could do the kinds of things he did without people seeing it as someone “doing an Andy Kaufman.” We know the Kaufman spirit when we see it. We feel it enter the room whenever a comedian sabotages the tension/release physics of the comedy act. It was there, a little bit, in Zach Galifianakis’s old stand-up act, when he’d tell dumb jokes in a solemn monotone while accompanying himself on piano or take the stage as his imaginary brother Seth or bring in a gospel choir to sing his punch lines. There’s a little bit of it in Colbert and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and the more conceptual bits of Jackass and any part of Craig Ferguson’s show in which Ferguson banters with a robot. But all of these things were alternative comedy presented to alternative-type people who knew exactly what they were in for. “Kaufmanesque” is now a format as formalized as the ones Kaufman used to booby-trap.
I discovered Andy when I was a teenager, and am forever grateful for it.