By Florian Keller

When Andy Kaufman succumbed all at once to lung melanoma in 1984, a few of his lovers believed that his dying was once another intricate prank. Over the former decade, Kaufman had completed unbelievable repute for his extraordinary antiperformances—lip-synching the effective Mouse topic music, studying The nice Gatsby aloud in its entirety whilst humans anticipated comedy, asking viewers participants to the touch a boil on his neck—that puzzled, pissed off, or indignant his viewers. 

In Andy Kaufman, Florian Keller explores Kaufman’s profession inside of a broader dialogue of the ideology of the yankee Dream. Taking as his place to begin the 1999 biopic Man at the Moon, Keller brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a fashion that makes it attainable to understand his radical schedule past avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his identification underneath a multiplicity of personas, enacting the yankee trust that the self can and may be without end remade for the sake of happiness and luck. He did this so carefully and continually, Keller argues, that he uncovered the inner contradictions of America’s ideology of self-invention. 

Keller posits that Kaufman provided a noticeably different—and possibly extra potent—logic of cultural feedback than did extra brazenly political comedians similar to Lenny Bruce. offering shut readings of Kaufman’s most vital performances, Keller exhibits how Kaufman mounted—for the good thing about a regularly uncomprehending public—a sustained and memorable critique of America’s obsession with big name and individualism. 

Florian Keller is a fellow on the Institute of Cultural reviews, tuition of paintings and layout, college of technologies and humanities, Zurich.

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