Again, this was impossible to pick just 10. I had a good idea to what I wanted and eventually turned into what you see below. I can't speak for Ian completely, but Andy to me, is my primary inspiration for anything creative I do. I feel like I'm doing his career an injustice by marginalizing it with only 10 pieces of his entire body of work. I will describe what each scene means to me to the best ability my inadequate mind can explain the spectrum of his genius.
1. The Dating Game
From what I understand Andy was not well known to the public, but he was doing his "foreign man" skit on SNL, The Tonight Show, and right before his stint with Taxi. He registered under the name, Baji Kimran and acted like a real contestant. He would not break character for anyone, which made this one of the funniest things I have ever seen. When he said he would ask Santa for "Food" I always laugh.
2. Fridays Assault
Friday's was a rip-off of the wildly popular Saturday Night Live show in the late 70's. This was a trend that Andy would have a joke ready for everyone (including the actors) and not tell anyone but his confident Bob Zumuda. The skit was supposed to have the couples be "high" while trying to enjoy dinner. It doesn't take long before any breaks character, and refuses to do the skit. Keep in mind NO ONE knew Andy was going to do this until after it was done.
Then he apologized after wards. There is no man on Earth who can deadpan a depressing semi-true story about his career, and make people laugh. The audience clearly had no idea what was real and what was fake anymore.
This could be a post by itself, but the story is that Jerry Lawler and Andy concocted a scheme to do another "unplanned routine" on the David Letterman Show. When Andy took to wrestling, he struck up a feud with The King of Tennessee mocking him for months, and never backing up his words with any action. Finally, Lawler got his hands on Andy hitting him with 2 "illegal piledrivers" leaving him in a neck brace. Andy threatened a law suit that received national attention. Dave saw TV gold so he got both men on the show to explain the controversy. Again the only two in on the joke was Lawler, and Andy. The joke wasn't revealed for years later right before Andy's death.
This was a phase he went through after Taxi, doing whatever the hell he wanted to. No one knows why he played a Conga session besides Andy, besides that he just could. There is some debate whether he was really slipping into mental illness, or just pushing the envelope to what people will pay for. I have to give him credit, the crowd seemed to love it.
5. Tony Clifton
Tony was Andy's alter-ego. This from what I understand is a true story adapted for the movie "Man on the Moon" since it was not filmed only retold by the people involved. Tony was the polar opposite of Andy, and during the height of Taxi's popularity Andy re-negotiated his contract in include a part for Mr. Clifton for an episode. This was the character's debut, and people took it as Andy being Andy, but as you can see Andy and Tony throughout their whole respective careers denied all knowledge of eachother.
6. Andy serenades Lawler
This was the pinnacle of Andy's wrestling career where Andy stopped wrestling women, and turned his attention to Jerry Lawler. Andy always would work the mic for 10 mins for 1 min of ring work. This particular part makes me laugh everytime. I love the point to where the song degenerates into silly noises.
7. The Idiot
This came up on YouTube randomly. I never knew this existed until last night when searching for Kaufman clips. Upon reading more, some people credit this to some of the first hidden camera pranks ever conceptualized. Of course, no one knew what Andy was doing besides the cameraman. Love it.
8. Friday II
After the wounds were healed from the first chance on being on the show, they could not deny the buzz he created. The asked him to host the whole show, and Andy (revenge) became the worst host ever, the way only he knows how. Again, this was decided upon by Andy himself and no one else.
9. Andy Burnt Out
Once replicated a few years ago, by Jaoquin Phoenix, Andy came on the show disheveled and determined to be the worst guest ever. From the snot on his nose, to nothing to talk about, to the sad monologue this is one of Andy's most memorable/disturbing guest spots ever. Again, only Andy can make an audience laugh out of sheer uncomfortable nervousness.
10. SNL Audition Tape
What I love about this is that it's awful. Andy was not even a blip on the map yet, but he did it his way. He didn't do his popular forgein man/elvis combo that was tearing up the Impov club, he did this. Why? Because he wanted to. If he would have made the SNL cast back in the original line-up there is no telling where his career would have went. I would have to guess that on-the-fringe was where he liked it.