The Andy Kaufman Effect


Hello, my name is John Michaelson, and I want to talk to you seriously about a new phenomenon taking place in our world called, The Andy Kaufman Effect.

Now before I move on with this article, I want to say that I do not subscribe to crazy conspiracy theories, nor do I believe Honey Boo-Boo is an amazing TV show with wonderful values to teach us something about life. Honey Boo-Boo was pure garbage with no morals outside of a writer’s thinking cap. Honey Boo-Boo was a good reason for the world to begin really hating us on one of those levels that cannot be explained beyond, “Well, that’s just how those people are.”

And as for those conspiracy theories… well, let’s just say that I think Jesse Ventura, and the like, are quite possibly crazier than Charles Manson. Well no, that’s not true. Actually, I really believe that Jesse Ventura is a master showman for his ability to present the world his art of bullshit. Kind of the way P.T. Barnum was back in his day. (Oh God, yes, click on the link to P.T.’s Wikipedia page so you know who I’m talking about… I’ll wait…)

The art of bullshit is an amazing art. It is the ability to say or do something to you that you will believe and will make you say something about it. Kind of like the way Betty White died last year and nobody noticed because everyone thought it was a hoax on the internet. Poor Betty White… nobody truly loved her in the end. And she died right after her 98th birthday. So sad.


The Andy Kaufman Effect is the act of causing a controversy, or some form of publicly viewed ‘gasping’ moment of disbelief all in the name of entertainment. It has been tried numerous times in history, from the likes of Tiny Tim on Laugh-In in the late 60’s (where I remember my father telling me that the first time he saw Tiny Tim he said, “What in the fuck is that?!”) all the way up to Kanye West making waves in front of millions of viewers on national TV to interrupt a Grammy winner (the awesome Beck) as he accepts his Album of the Year Award. And, of course, this was the second time Kanye busted in and crashed the party. The first being 2009 with Taylor Swift (who obviously was not in on the night’s agenda) as Kanye busted in on her accepting her award to tell the world, “Yo! Beyonce had the best video!”

1260585284155I remember when I saw that party being crashed at the Grammy Awards and thought, “Who the hell wrote this show… Andy Kaufman?” I mean, I saw it as that level of controversy. Something straight out of the book of Andy Kaufman and P.T. Barnum. And then I was reminded about Janet Jackson’s nipple… and then Rush Limbaugh and then I got sick and had to eat a bowl of cereal to come down. And it began to hit me that maybe this is all a joke and we’re not laughing yet. Maybe we’re not in on the joke. I thought, “Dude” (I always call myself ‘Dude’ when I’m alone thinking), “Dude, this is one of those Joe Pesci moments when he asked if he was a clown on Goodfellas!”

“Dude! they’re fucking with us!” 


And as it stands now, The Andy Kaufman Effect is being openly applied to such names as the aforementioned Kanye West, and his (current wife) Kim Kardashian (and all of her sisters, her mother and Bruce Jenner), Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Charlie Sheen, et al…

Jerry-SpringerAnd I don’t want to say that we’re being taken for suckers — but we are. But that’s okay, because it’s part of the fun of entertainment and the industry’s way of putting money in their pockets, all in the name of Andy Kaufman. Kind of like how Jerry Springer made us feel like real morons in the 90’s for buying into his TV show – until it was revealed to be all just a fun and fake show all part of his practical family entertainment. And like those Ghost Hunters and UFO Hunters on Discovery Channel. They are constantly making you watch their show to give you the sense that they will finally reveal a ghost, or a UFO, but in the end all you got was some blip on a thing and some guy off-camera whispering, “Get out!“.

Yeah! Something like that. It’s almost like a continuous April Fool’s prank. It’s an amazing marketing strategy and it works every time. Kind of in the way the National Enquirer used to sell billions of newspapers at the grocery queue while you waited to be checked out.

And look at Fox News. I cannot fathom Fox News NOT being part of this controversial money machine. I honestly believe that Fox News is not only just sailing this same ship of bullshit of television/internet entertainment, but these crazy bastards are navigating the rough waters in to stir you up and make you look like a REAL fool. How? Simple. They are using politics to fuck with us. They are making up some pretty weird shit to stir some pot of civil unrest and make us as divided as the Civil War back in 1861.

And that is actually dangerous. That can actually cause some serious repercussions to our society and as a people. But then again, “Hey! It’s all in the name of good family entertainment!” Don’t take it so seriously, they will say.

I’m beginning to personally feel that Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is wasting their time on trying to bring Fox to their knees. OR, they were in on it and just following that very same marketing strategy, as well.

Oh, and here is the most blatant display of the Andy Kaufman Effect.



In 2011, Charlie’s name was on the lips of more people than he deserved, because he was “Winning!” Yes, he was “winning” in more ways than one, and he was even so bold to tell you that he was “winning”, just not at what you thought he was “winning” at. And then right after Two And A Half Men added Ashton Kutcher, and the world watched the TV show to see the irreplaceable Sheen, guess who has a NEW TV show? Charlie Sheen! (Anger Management debuted on June 28, 2012… just a year after his ‘winning meltdown’).

(I so love the line, “I’m not bi-polar, I’m bi-winning!” That has to be one of the greatest comedy lines in the history of television. Great job media marketing campaign strategists. YOU are winning!”)

And I am fully aware that it was massively possible that Charlie did have a real breakdown. But a little birdie in the back of my mind is telling me that he was fucking with us.

Rush Limbaugh, too! He’s saying the things that made you keep his show on the radio 20 years longer than it had the right to. And we all know Rush Limbaugh was dead after his drug addiction controversy. WE KNOW IT! We all were disappointed in him and his “truth in journalism” kind of bullshit attitude. But yet, look at how long he’s been on the air lying and causing a stink, and nobody will get rid of him because HE! MAKES! MONEY! because we are BUYING! HIS! PRODUCT!

But folks! Listen up! As much as we hate these people, they are absolutely LOVING IT! They can’t be more happier to be your entertainment and we are all buying into it. Rush Limbaugh LOVES when you hate on him. He’s rich over your hatred, anger and disgust over him.

Okay, now back to Andy Kaufman.

1384738990_o-it-s-been-30-years-where-are-you-andyAndy Kaufman was a master comedian and personality that strategically designed controversial comedy that made many people angry, hurt, upset and spoke around the water coolers on Monday morning. For you see, Andy Kaufman was a genius and a brilliant mind that was tormented with the idea of having to just be Latka on Taxi. It was his true destiny to NOT be Latka. He HATED the show and he hated doing the part. But he loved making waves. And that’s just what he did when he began the artform of wrestling women in Tennessee. That brought on a world of hatred, ridicule, anger and many wrestling fans were brought to their knees when Andy mocked them, taunted them, spewed racist rants at them and then wrestled a real women in wrestling rings for a few minutes and beat them 90% of the time.

AND THEN, as if that wasn’t enough to make your butt itch, he landed on Late Night with David Letterman with the late Jerry Lawler, the male wrestler that brought Andy down with a piledriver that got him disqualified – forcing Andy Kaufman to win the wrestling match (much to the world’s horror and disgust). It was on this David Letterman show (posted below in the video) that Kaufman got to display a further bout of pure comic genius when he got Lawler to slap him out of his chair on live television.

IT WAS PURE COMIC GENIUS! Point blank and period! BRILLIANT!

BTW: Jerry Lawler is not dead, but I wanted to see how many people would gasp and say, “I didn’t know Jerry was dead.” Thus, making my point.

And then, when the wrestling controversy died down, Andy Kaufman allegedly dies in 1984. But as with many pranksters, this is supposedly part of his sick sense of humor – which should have been over by now and he should have come up for air finally to point at us and say, “Ha ha! Fooled ya!” (for which he has not).

The controversy of it all is now (going to be) known as The Andy Kaufman Effect.

Oh, hey! Anyone remember Janet Jackson’s titty nipple at the Superbowl Half-time show? Yeah! Remember that little wonderful display of family entertainment back in 2004. I knew you would. Well, you cannot expect that to be just some random event when it was perfectly clear that pre-show preparations consisted of Janet clearly censored her own boob before it got plastered on the TV for a brief nanosecond. It was obviously staged, and it was obviously planned to cause a ruckus and get us to talk about it the next day. And you’ll never guess what we did… we talked about. And I mean millions of us were horrified and shocked at the tit that we blew our minds right the fuck open! We had therapy sessions and the world went into full blown FCC-Gotta-Change-Things mode that could have caused terrorists to attack us for our social morality… umm, yeah. But it happened and that was the beginning of the new wave of the Andy Kaufman Effect.

Janet Jackson super bowl

The Andy Kaufman Effect 

Andy started wrestling women, and then David Letterman invested in it with Andy and Lawler, Morton Downey Jr. made a TV show out of it and Jerry Springer made a fortune hosting it. And here we are, the cycle of life comes back around, and now Kanye West is interrupting Grammy performances, just to make sure you understand The Andy Kaufman Effect.


Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Kanye, Honey Boo-Boo, 16 And Pregnant, Kardashians, etc., are all doing the Andy Kaufman. Madonna did the Andy Kaufman during her 1984 MTV Video Music awards show where she humped the stage in a wedding dress. Yeah… that was a sight to see for a 16 year old boy just wanting to see if his precious Huey Lewis and the News would win for that song he so loved back then.

Oh, and by the way, did you know that Honey Boo-Boo was not cancelled because it got old, stale and sucked horribly as American family entertainment. NO! It got cancelled after Mama Boo-Boo dated a child molester. More Kaufmanism for ya.


I’d like to just say it clearly and as simply put as possible… It was fake and it was designed to make you holler in disbelief and hatred for someone so you will click on the links, get knotted into their advertising machinery, see ‘related’ content, keep clicking and then click some more. It’s a media selling machine and we are all consumers of their products. And there’s no more need to be angry at Kanye for his shenanigans. Finally, you can sleep better at night knowing that you’ve just been part of the ‘happening’ – or duped as a torrential moron. Either way, it’s over and we can get back to real artistic media of real journalist journalisting, real movies and television shows, real music and be all whole again – just like we were in the 80’s.

Hell, we might even convince the rest of the world that we knew it all along and you can stop hating us for being morons. We’re smarter than you gave us credit for. And, as all things in life, it will eventually pass. But know that you made it happen and you are part of entertainment history because you gave life to the Andy Kaufman Effect.

Think about it.


Betty White did not die last year. I was just putting into practice, the Andy Kaufman Effect. As the date of this post, she is very much alive and preparing for her 5th marriage. Congratulations, Betty. I love you.

…and now I bring you…

10 Great TV Moments That Weren’t As Honest As We Thought

We totally ripped this article below from CinemaBlend because it marks the opportunity to show you that this current form of entertainment is nothing new. This is one of the oldest tricks in the television handbook of successful moments of quick cash.

It goes without saying that one should have a grain of salt nearby anytime a television is turned on. TV programming is usually explicitly fictional, as a sitcom or crime procedural, but there have always been those out there trying to pull a fast one over on viewers, and the onslaught of “reality TV” and made-for-TV docu-series has only made things worse. Sometimes the attempts to fool viewers are mischievous, while other times they’re obvious jokes that audiences took way out of proportion.

Reelz’s look at Whitney Houston’s death allegedly used a fake drug dealer as a part of its “true” narrative, which makes one wonder how often this kind of thing happens. But before we all don our Inspector hats to take on the case, here are ten of the most memorable instances where TV wasn’t being as truthful as we thought it was at the time. This first one gets pretty NSFW by the end, so mind your speaker volume.

Andy Kaufman vs. Jerry Lawler

One could argue that everything comedian Andy Kaufman did in his life (and even death) was an act for an audience of one, but there’s no arguing his radical genius and looming influence in today’s comedy. His performance art-filled career at one point gave way to wrestling against women and a subsequent “feud” with professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler. It culminated in Kaufman’s injured neck and the infamous Late Night with David Letterman appearance seen above, in which Lawler slaps Kaufman across the face, which is followed by the Taxi star hollering out a line of explicit insults. It was 1982 and it was over a decade before the masses found out the two men were good buddies and it was all a bafflingly uncomfortable act. This is why stories that he faked his death will always be slightly believable.

Discovery’s Megalodon Specials

Discovery’s Shark Week used to be a thing of genuine majesty for TV audiences since its inception in the late 1980s, at one point bringing in Jaws author Peter Benchley to host. Recent years have seen comedians and a YouTube personality taking on the hosting gig, which is probably as good a marker as any that the network would soon complement its legit shark documentary episodes with complete anecdotal bullshit, complete with actors instead of actual experts doing the talking. The two biggest targets for viewers’ ire were Megalodon: The Monster Shark Livesand Darkness: Wrath of Submarine. While a ratings bonanza for the network, these efforts were no more scientifically informative than Ancient Aliens or that Bigfoot dream you have every night.

Forgotten Silver

Back in 1995, before Peter Jackson became known as the guy who makes J.R.R. Tolkien movies for a living, he was known for awesome splatter comedies and the haunting Heavenly Creatures. This doesn’t make him a prime candidate for master hoaxing, so when his mockumentary Forgotten Silver hit New Zealand TV, people had no idea the increasingly surreal farce they were watching was complete fiction. In the doc, Jackson claims to have found the lost films of filmmaker Colin McKenzie, all of which prove that McKenzie was the most innovative director of all time and responsible for a multitude of advancements in movies and beyond. Little did anyone watching realize that the entire thing was cooked up by Jackson and writer/director Costa Botes. Blair Witch shouldn’t have hit us that hard after Forgotten Silver.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

Everyone has a sense of humor, but some of us forget to make sure that’s what we’re supposed to be using when taking in information on April Fool’s Day. In 1957, the BBC current affairs series Panorama ran an April Fool’s joke about how the weather was promoting a lift in spaghetti tree harvesting in an area of southern Switzerland. Because this was at a point when pasta hadn’t quite taken over the U.K., many of the segment’s 8 million viewers were legitimately intrigued about trying to grow their own spaghetti trees and flooded the BBC with phone calls the next day.

Mermaids: The Body Found

Animal Planet, known for its cute puppies and wild tree creatures (scientific term), aired a faux documentary called Mermaids: The Body Found back in 2012, while only barely tossing audiences a wink to let them know that it was a complete fiction, instead of just a horribly acted reality. In the same way that a lot of conspiracy theories and indie sci-fi starts, Mermaids was about the government covering up of the existence of mermaids, which were believed to have been evolved from the also-bullshit aquatic ape theory. It even had a website with a faked front page that claimed the government had shut it down. As you can imagine, the show received far more negative criticism than compliments, because CGI creepshow mermaids suck.


For Halloween in 1992, BBC1 freaked the shit out of everyone with the mockumentary Ghostwatch. Though there were clear signs that Ghostwatch wasn’t real, it was presented as a live investigation into a house “haunted” by a ghost called Pipes. Horror fans and Ghost Hunters viewers will be familiar with a lot of the tactics the team used in finding and drawing out the malevolent spirit, but 1992 audiences were blown away. (It is genuinely unnerving at times.) The BBC and other media outlets were bombarded with calls from frightened people. The actual documentary Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains chronicles the initial show’s impact over the years.

The Big Donor Show

Endemol is the company best known for Big Brother, but it received quite a bit of heat in 2007 for their well-intentioned but somewhat ghastly series The Big Donor Show (De Grote Donorshow). The single episode, which revealed its intentions by the end, involved a terminally ill woman who would donate her kidney to one of 25 contestants that needed a kidney transplant, which were narrowed down through the use of text messages sent to the show. It was revealed in the end that the main woman was just an actress, though the final three contestants were actual kidney patients, and that the entire “series” had been a ruse in order to draw awareness to how important organ donation is. With all text charges going to charity, and an overwhelming amount of new donors following the broadcast, this was one hoax where the criticism was dwarfed by the benefits.

Alternative 3

Paying homage to Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, which had people thinking aliens were afoot, Alternative 3 was an April Fools faux documentary about the discovery of a secret plan to make the moon and Mars habitable for humanity in the aftermath of environmentally devastating climate changes. The story also chronicled strange disappearances of a number of people in the science field. Sounds like a real laugh, right? The problem was, the Anglia TV episode wasn’t able to run on its intended April 1 air date, and instead ran on June 20, 1977. Talk about burying the punchline. The public, as you can imagine, was slightly interested in finding out more.

Quiz Show Scandals

The golden age of television viewers were knocked for a loop when it was revealed that a handful of 1950’s game shows were guilty of handpicking and coaching contestants for the sake of drawing ratings and popularity. The most famous of these cases was that of Charles Van Doren, whom producers of the series Twenty Oneguided to a string of victories; even the guy Van Doren defeated was talked into throwing the game. The incident was famously brought to the big screen in the 1994 film Quiz Show. That kind of thing put streaks in the headlights of skeptics, particularly when Ken Jennings treated a slew of Jeopardy contestants like planks on a bridge to riches.

Space Cadets

Back in 2005, when the thought of space tourism was something that was still looked at with sheer optimism, the U.K.’s Channel 5 ran a show called Space Cadets, in which twelve people competed to become the first British space tourists for a five-day long trip in low orbit. The ploy? Nearly everything about the show was fake, from the faux-Russian location to the shuttle pilots to some of the contestants themselves. None of the rubes even realized all of their actions were being documented for a TV show. Or did they? There are some that believe the entirety ofSpace Cadets was faked, and that it was truly the biggest hoax in TV history. Bottom line: a bunch of money was spent and nobody went to space.

Thanks for reading.



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