Andy Kaufman Died For the Lulz

Repost from the old site. On May 16, 1984, one of the finest comedians and performance artists of our time, Andy Kaufman, reportedly died at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Or did he? A blog, Andy Kaufman Returns, appeared right around the time of the 20th anniversary of his death. The blog was reportedly written by Kaufman himself. He describes how he faked his death, faked his supposedly having cancer, and arranged for another dying man to placed in his hospital bed in his place. He then described what he has been doing since he faked his own death and has been living in hiding. The blog is actually pretty hilarious, and after the most recent post, there have been over 900 comments. Soon afterward, a new blog, The Real Andy Kaufman, appeared accusing the previous one of being a lying, cheating fake. The new blog claimed to be from the real Andy Kaufman. Tony Clifton, the abusive Vegas lounge singer who was one of Andy’s comedic personas, also has two new blogs up. It appears that he did not die either. There is an entire elaborate website up called Andy Kaufman Lives. It has quotes from many of Andy’s friends saying that Andy told them how he planning to fake his death and how exactly he would go about doing it if he did. Some of them then describe how he did indeed fake his own illness and death as they watched. He shaved his head and went on a starvation diet to look like a cancer patient. Then he got some dying guy to fill in for him at the last moment to take his place on the deathbed. There are reports from witnesses who spotted Kaufman soon after the faked death in Jamaica, a report from someone in Taos, New Mexico, who says that Andy is actually living there quietly incognito, a report from someone else saying that Andy was pretending to be a Venice Beach bum in the late 1980’s, quotes from his nurse, who confesses that Andy was not really ill at all, quotes from friends who were at his bedside admitting that his death was a fake, on and on it goes. The site claims that searches of Kaufman’s death certificate online reveal a blank record and that Kaufman’s Social Security number has continued to be used in the 20 years since his death in a variety of places in the US. The site is also looking for witnesses to testify that Kaufman is still alive for reasons of some insane lawsuit that I could not figure out. Apparently, all of this is just a gigantic put-on by some of Andy’s old friends on the 20th anniversary of his death. It’s apparently true that Andy did discuss faking his own death with some of his friends as the ultimate prank. He realized that if he did it, he could not tell anyone, as faking your death is apparently a crime. The Snopes site reveals that Andy Kaufman actually did die on 5-16-84 in Los Angeles and offers persuasive evidence that this is in fact what really happened. Andy Kaufman would have been quite at home in the Internet Age. He was a great troll, and he just about invented trolling IRL. In fact, that was his signature style. And everything he did, he did it for the lulz.

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3 thoughts on “Andy Kaufman Died For the Lulz”

  1. If anyone was actually pulling it off , it would be Kaufman. Elvis, Jim Morrison, Tupac….. I’m doubtfull. Andy though , he was inspired enough to do it.
    Long Live Latka !

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