etterman Morning Show: Fall, 1980
DL: He stars on the series "Taxi" as Latka. However, he has not been on television much lately. He's been, I guess, busy doing other things. Nonetheless, I'm glad that he has agreed to be with us here this morning. Please welcome Mr. Andy Kaufman.
(Applause and cheers. Andy, looking very bedraggled, enters wearing pink sportcoat, yellow pants, blue plaid shirt, orange t-shirt. He is totally unkempt-clothes wrinkled, face unshaven, hair uncombed. He sits next to Dave looking utterly clueless and as though he might keel over at any second. His eyelids are heavy, he has a hacking cough, and there is a mucus-like substance on his upper lip.)
Andy. I really appreciate you being here this morning. It's nice to see you. Tell me about "Taxi." (close-up of Andy w/runny nose) Would you like a tissue? Can I--would you like a tissue? So tell me about-see, people sometimes eat breakfast while they're watching the show. Now, there was a TV strike, you know, and some shows were not in production, but now they're going back into production, and are you gonna--I guess, are you gonna be on "Taxi"? You mentioned before the show, there are some problems?
AK: Yeah, I quit the show.
DL: You quit the show?
DL: You're no longer gonna be on "Taxi"?
DL: You have your own show?
AK: No ... I'm not doing much special right now. This is--you know, I'm once in a while making appearances, like on this show here.
DL: Yeah, I know you're probably going to do movies.
DL: And I guess you'll be--you used to be on "Saturday Night Live" an awful lot, so--
AK: I don't know. I really don't have any control of that. If they asked me, I would do it, but I don't--there's nothing planned right now in the near future.
DL: You doing a lot of nightclubs, though?
AK: Occasionally appearing at The Improvisation in New York. That's the place I started out at.
DL: Yeah, yeah.
AK: Not really much. I'm living in New York now.
DL: Mmm-hmm. But things are okay.
DL: I see now a woman mentioned you--
AK: (hacking cough)
DL: Can I get you a mint? Yeah, I know you wanted to--you're going to do a little piece for us this morning. Do you want to go to that now? What do you want to do?
AK: If you'd like. I can--
DL: We have a stool there, you want to do it?
AK: Thank you.
DL: Thank you. Andy Kaufman, ladies and gentlemen.
AK: I'd like to--before I begin, I would like to just say thank you very much to David Letterman and the producers of this show, and the people that run this show for having me as a guest. And it's a very--pleasure to come on this show and be here. I'd like to talk about my marriage. I met my wife several years ago, when I was struggling in New York, performing every night at The Improvisation nightclub. I would perform every night for free, and once in a while, I would get jobs elsewhere for maybe 50 dollars a night, and stuff.
And I met her while I was driving up from southern New Jersey one time. She was a cocktail waitress. And we went out a few times, fell in love, and got married. And she kind of, she worked as a waitress while I was working for free in nightclubs. And we lived together right outside of New York City, and we had two children. And--names were Mark and Lisa. And ... "Saturday Night Live" (coughs)--(audience laughter) discovered me. I'm--I'd rather ... if you don't laugh, because I'm not trying to be funny right now.
And shortly after that I went to California, and things really started happening. I started--I had a manager. I got a manager--Shapiro, West, and Associates. George Shapiro is a wonderful man. And he was my manager for the next few years. And then "Taxi" came along. And I was doing all these far-out things on television shows, but when "Taxi" came along, it was just one character, Latka, and I kind of felt inhibited by it, but, you know, I was just able to do the one character. I wanted to have more freedom creatively to do these other things, and--the things I used to do on "Saturday Night Live" and stuff....
So anyway, I quit the show, and my wife--At that time, I was wrestling women on "Saturday Night Live," and I got a lot of hate mail, and no producer would hire me after that. So one day I was at my manager's office, trying to get an engagement for a dinner theater in Wisconsin, and I got a call from my wife's lawyer. She wanted a divorce. She got a divorce. She got the kids, the house, she got all my money. Well, not all my money, but some anyway. She got everything. I moved to New York. And now--that's what I'm doing now--living in New York, and--I don't really have anything. (Coughs)
So anyway, if anybody could--I know this sounds like a cliché, but if you could send your extra money, I would appreciate it. Thank you very much.
(Andy rises from stool and with outstretched palm, walks out into the audience and begins panhandling. A security guard grabs him by arm, they argue quietly, and Andy is ushered out of the theater)
DL: Always a pleasure to have the young talent on the show. We'll be right back.