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Andrew Geoffrey "Andy" Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was an American entertainer, actor and performance artist. While often referred to as a comedian, Kaufman did not consider himself one. He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, referring to himself instead as a "song-and-dance man". Elaborate hoaxes and pranks were major elements of his career.

Kaufman was born in New York City, on January 17, 1949, the first son of Janice (née Bernstein) and Stanley Kaufman. He grew up in a middle-class Jewish family, in Great Neck, Long Island, New York, and began performing at age nine. He attended the now defunct two-year Grahm Junior College, in Boston, graduating in 1971. He then began performing stand-up comedy at various small clubs along the East Coast.

Kaufman first caught major attention with a character known as Foreign Man, who claimed to be from Caspiar (a fictional island in the Caspian Sea) and would appear on the stage of comedy clubs to play a recording of the theme from "Mighty Mouse" and lip-synch one line—"Here I come to save the day." He would proceed to tell a few jokes and perform a number of impersonations (Archie Bunker, Richard Nixon, et al.). Some variations of this performance were broadcast in the first season of Saturday Night Live; the Mighty Mouse number was featured in the October 11, 1975 premiere, while the joke-telling and Bunker impression were included in the November 8 broadcast that same fall.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Andy Kaufman."
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