Well, this is… unexpected. Apparently the late, great comic Andy Kaufman may not actually be late at all. Andy, you see, passed away from lung cancer in 1984 at the tragically young age of 35; ever since then, though, rumors have been kicking around that he faked his own death. Those rumors have resurfaced in the most explosive way possible this week due to this:
According to the Defamer, Andy’s brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremony of the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Award on Monday night to address the rumors once again. He told a story of finding Andy’s plans to fake his death after he had passed—and a note that said he would show up on Christmas Eve in 1999 at his favorite restaurant. Michael went to the restaurant (wouldn’t you?), where he was greeted not with Andy, but with another note that explained the comic had gone into hiding and now had a wife, daughter, and a normal life.
And here’s where it gets REALLY weird: A 24-year-old woman then joined Michael onstage, claiming to be Andy’s daughter. TMZ (of course) managed to get their paws on a video of the event:
I… don’t even know what to do with this.
AND IT GETS WEIRDER.
The first source to report an eyewitness account of the incident, The Comic’s Comic, has been widely cited from everyone from the Hollywood Reporter to the New York Daily News—but either the site is broken at the moment or it’s been taken down, because going to it just leads to your standard GoDaddy “learn how you can get this domain” page. I was able to access it by getting Google to pull up a cached version of it… but let’s face it: It’s fishy, especially because this is the kind of prank Andy would have been ALL OVER back in the day. [EDIT: The Comic’s Comic is back up again. Likely it crashed due to high volume. Here’s the Andy Kaufman piece.] Michael has also backpedaled, saying that he now thinks he’s been the victim of a hoax—AND the Smoking Gun published a report that the unnamed 24-year-old woman who claimed to be Andy’s daughter is actually an actress named, Alexandra Tatarsky, whom Michael hired to play the part (an accusation Michael has flatly denied):
Is anyone else expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind a potted plant or something to tell us all we’ve been Punk’d? Actually, either way we’ve been Punk’d—I’m not convinced this whole “Andy Kaufman Lives!” thing is real, but if it is, Andy has been Punking us since Ashton Kutcher was about six years old.
Anyway, I’m curious to know what you think, Bettys. Hoax? Truth? I’m inclined to go with hoax but maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts? Tell us in the comments!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor. Tweet me! @luciapeters