Tony Clifton Returning for Comic Relief Shows at The Comedy Store
The boisterous, dark side alter-ego of Andy Kaufman is headed back to the stage for a limited run on behalf of Comic Relief.
The legend of Tony Clifton lives on.
An intrigue of the 1970s and early 80s comedy scene, the washed out lounge singer with the exploding ego announced late Monday that he will be headlining a series of charity shows at the famed Comedy Store in Los Angeles. The shows will run on June 28-29, and every Thursday and Friday night in July.
Clifton was actually the creation and heavily prosthetic-and-costumed dark alter-ego of Saturday Night Live and Taxi star Andy Kaufman, who claimed to have "discovered" him while in Las Vegas, and used him as an opening act for several of his stage shows. Clifton created havoc -- he was famously kicked off the set of Taxi during a planned guest appearance, and dumped eggs over the head of Dinah Shore live on air.
Eventually, as people began to figure out that Kaufman and Clifton were one in the same, Kaufman's writing partner, Bob Zmuda, took on the cheap tuxedo and makeup -- which created confusion for audiences and delight for the offbeat "song and dance man," as Kaufman refered to himself. Zmuda is the founder of Comic Relief.
While Kaufman passed away in 1980 (some conspiracy theorists believe he disappeared in a great stunt), Clifton has continued to make appearances, including shows in 2008 (as a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims), 2010 and, also at the Comedy Store, in 2011. The new set of shows will feature a 14-member band called the Cliftones, and will mark the 28th anniversary of what the press release calls Kaufman's "mysterious disappearance."
Clifton recently appeared on an episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast, which you can listen to here.