Sunday, May 09, 2010

The truth about Lady Gaga

When Andy Kaufman died so young there were many who believed it was all a hoax. This was just the sort of absurd thing he would do. Andy was labeled a “comedian” but what he really was was a “performance artist”. The idea wasn’t to make you laugh, it was to make him laugh at you for buying into his elaborate ruses. He would assume bizarre characters and amuse himself watching the reaction he received from the gullible public. One such character was Tony Clifton, a belligerent sleazeball lounge singer. Clifton would come on and insult the audience for forty-five minutes. At first they thought it was a bit but eventually they got pissed. To Andy this was high hilarity.

Andy later turned to professional wrestling and began wrestling women on stage. Everything he did was weird and theatrical. You never knew, was he real or a put-on? All during his years starring on the hit sitcom TAXI he bussed tables on Wednesday nights at Jerry’s Deli in the Valley.

So it comes as no surprise that when he died of cancer at age 35, many people believed this too was just another sick stunt.

Well, it turns out they were right. After laying low for many years Andy Kaufman has returned. And he is once again back in the spotlight. He has created his most genius character ever. Andy now goes by the name – Lady Gaga.

But the act is the same. Dressing in absurd costumes, prancing around the stage with the grace of a Clydesdale, and singing songs that make utterly no sense, Andy is having the last laugh on the world.

Because people are buying it! People actually think Lady Gaga is a great artist. How hard it must have been for him to keep a straight face last week when he/she appeared on AMERICAN IDOL. Andy came out dressed in a bikini with netting, a ridiculous blond wig, raccoon eye makeup, and black veil. He/she was joined by shirtless Chippendales type dancers as they clomped their way through a non-melodious song of sheer drivel while fog swirled at their feet.

And the audience loved it! Bravo, Mr. Kaufman! You have successfully duped an entire generation. Lady Gaga is your masterpiece.

At some point someone is going to figure it out. Someone is going to realize, “Hey, this is bullshit!” But that could be years from now… after you’ve sold three billion CD’s and have become the governor of California. So in the meantime, enjoy it, Andy. Keep wearing Cher’s hand-me-downs, keep writing and singing songs that are complete nonsense, and for Godsakes, keep those fog machines pumping,

I knew it was you, Andy. Last Wednesday night I was in Jerry’s Deli and the woman who collected my dirty plates had a platinum wig, black hat, bejeweled Phantom of the Opera mask, a crow under her chin, and a black feathered gown. Welcome back. We missed you.

36 comments:

Rebecca said...

I couldn't stand Andy Kaufmann, but I love Lady Gaga. And it's not a generational thing. I'm pretty sure you and I are about the same age.

Since when do lyrics have to make sense? I mean, there are certainly some great songs with great lyrics, usually from great songwriters. But, overall, there are probably more hit songs that don't hold up if you listen too closely. Quite a few that are just completely ridiculous.

And Gaga's certainly way better than Britney Spears and the rest of that bunch of pop tarts. Also, if you were going to congratulate Andy for pulling it off, you should at least give Gaga credit for the same thing. Especially since she's doing it in a much bigger way than he ever did.

The biggest difference, though? She respects her fans, and is grateful to them for the success she's enjoying now. It's gotta be tough to don those elaborate costumes every time she leaves the freaking house. But she does it because that's what a lot of her fans want from her. Which is the polar opposite of insulting them when they pay money to see her perform.

a realist said...

Oh Rebecca, you poor thing.

Rebecca said...

@realist,

Honey, please don't waste your sympathy on me. I'm all about finding joy and excitement in life, which is why I admire Lady Gaga for going full tilt in spite of the frowners. I guess that's kind of what Andy Kaufmann was doing, too. But my pity goes to him and anyone else who found any kind of pleasure in his miserable act.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Great detective work, Ken. I'm reminded of someone who went to see a concert by a really terrible singer. When I asked why, the answer was, "He puts on a good show." Finally, entertainment for the deaf.

James said...

Roflmao.

If I had a show, I'd hire you in a second, Ken. Way to hit a multi-generational audience.

Too damn funny.

Simon H. said...

I can't wait for your piece tomorrow explaining how you're just going to keep it the next time those damn neighborhood kids kick a ball into your yard. Can your review of the MCL cafeteria be far behind? :-)

Simon H. said...

And btw I'm 32, and I enjoy both. I have no idea where that leaves me.

Bob Claster said...

Ken,

Did you know that Tony Clifton is scheduled to appear at the Comedy Store on Sunset on May 16th?

vermonter17032 said...

Interesting theory, Ken, but I think if Andy Kaufmann were behind Lady Gaga, her act would seem more credible. My theory is that she's just who she says she is: a royal emissary from the planet Gaga. The problem is, the Gagans only contact with earth was through grainy 1980s MTV transmissions, so this is who she thinks we communicate. And don't forget, Stephen Hawking warned us this might happen!

wv: scrot - I'm not even going there.

unkystan said...

Off the subject with a Friday question. I haven't seen "Wings" in years and got season 1 from Netflix and saw the name Roz Doyle as producer (I never noticed that before) and made me wonder, other than using friends and family, how do writers come up with the 'perfect' character names? Do you know someone named George Stoody?

rms said...

"...singing songs that make utterly no sense" - Hey, wasn't that all the Duran Duran songs in the '80's? (I can say that, I'm was a fan!)

Emily Blake said...

Your theory would hold water were it not for the fact that Poker Face is catchy as hell.

Tom Quigley said...

Gee, and all this time -- or for the last two years at least -- I thought he was masquerading as Sarah Palin....

Tom Quigley said...

...Or Glenn Beck...

Anonymous said...

@Rebecca Simmer down. Jeepers. Even Lady Gaga herself wouldn't be THAT torqued about this article. Maybe you should not read this blog anymore since it seems to raise your blood pressure so much -- there are bound to be fan clubs for Lady Gaga you could read. It's called humor. Move along.

Clifton Anthony said...

If Andy Kaufman is Lady Gaga, then he has one nice ass!

Ashley said...

I can't believe there are people commenting on here who actually LIKE Lady Gaga! I thought this blog entry was AWESOME! I read every day and this is one of my very favorites. It made me crack up.
Btw, @ Rebecca in regards to your first post, I cannot see a single way in which Gaga is better than Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera (or whatever other "tarts" you are thinking about).
And for anyone who thinks I must be old in order to not like Gaga...I'm 21.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

As I recall, Rebecca preferred Kirstie Alley to Shelly Long on Cheers. "Nuff said.

Michael Zand said...

Wow. Who’da thought Gaga would raise so much passion. Here’s what’s true for me about Lady Gaga and Andy Kaufman. I started out hating Lady Gaga and thought she was full of shit. But what’s true is that she is a genuinely talented singer and musician who also happens to be butt ugly. So, as talented as she is, without all the performance art and costume shtick she wouldn’t sell single song.

What’s true is that Andy Kaufman had Asperger’s Syndrome, which Dr. House would say, “explains everything.” His ability to inflict his brand of humor on an audience could only come out of his complete lack of empathy for other people. (Sasha Baron Cohen is another current performer who also is mildly Asperger and much funnier than Andy, but and has the same kind of squirm inducing humor) Do you think Andy ever came off his shtick and got “real” when he wasn’t on? No, that’s who he was. Whereas, I’ve seen Gaga be real in interviews. Gaga is a brilliant huckster/showman (Showwoman?) in the tradition of PT Barnum, Alice Cooper, and Madonna who knows that it’s the circus that’s keeps the suckers coming back for more.

What’s also true is that I’d rather be head in the head with an ax then ever hear “Poker Face” again.

Mel Ryane said...

Too true, my Lord, too true!

gih said...

Truly this celebrity is famous.

Anonymous said...

The supposidly late Dr. Gene Scott is back and masquerading as Glen Beck.

Melody the First said...

Andy Kaufman was a brilliant entertainer that most people just aren't sharp enough to "get". He didn't have Aspergers. He wasn't autistic. He had an IQ of 144 and he was always too hip for the room. I'm smart enough to get what he was doing. He is a genius (I'm confident he's still alive somewhere). He would mirror the behavior of the audience at wrestling matches and I'd be LMAO at home when I was a young adult.

If Lady Gaga was Andy Kaufman, people would remember her twenty-six years from now. As I barely know who she is at all, I'm quite sure known one else will in 26 years.

den parser said...

I love this woman, she so adorable!

Michael Zand said...

Melody,

Never said Andy Kaufman was dumb. Having Asperger's doesn't preclude you from being smart or having a high IQ. Some of the most brilliant people have Asperger's. In fact, it's posited that most geniuses have a form of the Syndrome, Einstein, Bill Gates, and Isaac Newton to name a few. (Newton is a working theory based on the history of his behavior) Asperger's merely explains and gives us a better understanding of Kaufman's behavior. It's not positive or negative. It just is.

Anonymous said...

why do you hate gay people, Ken?

say what said...

I, too dismissed Lady Gaga as a wanna-be, but the YouTube video of her in a college talent show blew me away and completely changed my mind about her.

No wild costume or makeup, no audio effects, just herself at a piano, belting out a soulful song she wrote herself. Really impressive:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM51qOpwcIM

Michael Zand said...

Thanks for the link, Say What. It proves my point about her being really talented. I would like to walk back my butt ugly comment, though. Lady Gaga aka Stefani Germonata (if ever a name needed changing)is actually attractive but doesn't have a very camera friendly face. So creating this bizarre persona with all the hoopla is a brilliant tactic to market herself and get her music heard.

It must be an age thing but I'd take Stefani Germonata's music over Lady Gaga's any day.

MattyD. said...

Can't music just be fun shit? Do we have to intellectualize absolutely everything? I'm enjoying Gaga's run of craziness, music and all, and I don't think that's me being duped. It's just me wanting some mindless danceable pop music.

Anonymous said...

As one Anonymous poster remarking on the previous Anonymous poster (not me): "Why do you hate gay people, Ken?"

I find it a tad challenging to think that Ken Levine has a microbe of homophobia, as having spent all those years on the staff of Frasier would have surely driven him to the brink of insanity had be been so afflicted. Wasn't Kelsey Grammer the only male member of the cast who wasn't gay?

Alas, pointing fingers at people now passes for evidence of having character.

Michael Zand said...

Aw Matty,

Did we hurt your little brain by trying to have an intelligent discussion?

I'm sorry. Just slip those earbuds back in, toke up, and let go.

yad said...

gotta say...really interesting to read about Andy Kaufman and Lady Gaga in the same blog..in the same sentence... LOL! Got a good laugh!
I am a huge fan of Andy's..and I really enjoy Lady Gaga's music...

anyway... it was fun to read this stuff..

check out my site for Andy..it's been up for one year: andygkaufmanworld.blogspot.com

lifeissweet16 said...

Except for Bad Romance, I see nothing original or special about anything Lady gaga has done. I think you may be absolutely correct.

lifeissweet16 said...

Say What -- Thank you SO MUCH for this link What an amazing musician and singer she is! It's a shame she didn't stick to that kind of music. I think I would like a lot more of her if she had. Like I said, I like Bad Romance, but everything else she's done is very generic. It's nice to know she has range if she chooses to use it. I definitely have much more respect for her after seeing that.

ShawdyWhatItDo said...

Lady Gaga is closer to Garth Brooks' failed attempt at an Alternate Reality Game, AKA Chris Gaines, or for a more obscure example, Platinum Weird, the fake 70s band that was a joint venture between Dave Stewart and Kara DioGuardi.

Although I'd argue that she's trash and is this decade's analogue to The Spice Girls, Jennifer Lopez and Eminem. She even has the Spice Girls' musical sound and fashion sense. She'll be over in 2-4 years.

Lesa Kay said...

I really enjoyed reading this -- and reading through the comments as well. I wasn't ever a fan of Andy's, though I didn't dislike him either. Just not my thing. Same feelings for Lady Gaga. However, I do think she is savvy as far as her marketing tactics are concerned and a damn fine artist outside of all of the hoopla. In other words, I, too, think Stephani Germanotta is a gifted and highly skilled individual.

Again, an enjoyable, clever read.