For Comedy Week, we ran three tributes in the vein of our Dead Wrestler of the Week series: Phil Berger wrote on Andy Kaufman, The Masked Man on Mitch Hedberg, and True Blood producer Alexander Woo on Vaughn Meader.
Mitch Hedberg, 1968-2005: His jokes weren't just riffs on existing tropes. The only norm Hedberg adhered to was that there weren't any norms. His humor never met you halfway. He pulled listeners into his own head. His deliver was as off-putting as was his material, but you still came away marveling at the intelligence and precision of observation-to borrow from Edward Ruscha, his was the sort of art that elicits a "Huh? Wow!" as opposed to a "Wow! Huh?" That was his brilliance. READ »
Vaughn Meader, 1936-2004: Among those who remember, Vaughn Meader was one of the most famous names in America for a 12-month period from 1962-1963. After that, his cultural significance evaporated almost overnight, his name thoroughly erased from public consciousness to the point of sub-trivia. To get from there to here requires a bit of doing, and a lot of bad luck. READ »
Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984: What did it mean? What was he after? Says Zmuda: "Andy always felt he had got miscast in the comic's role. He felt that was not what he did. It was more performance art. More from the private corridors of his mind. Sometimes he'd purposely go out and not try to be funny. Laughter was fine and good. But if the audience was bored, or they turned on him, that was just as good. READ »