Friday, Jul. 10, 2009

Andy Kaufman / Tony Clifton

Long before Baron Cohen, there was comedian Andy Kaufman, who assumed the persona of Tony Clifton, the quintessential washed-up Vegas act. Reporters scratched their heads at how such a grating, talentless hack could earn top billing at casinos like Harrah's. They quickly tried to link him back to Kaufman, but both he and the Clifton character always denied the connection. Kaufman went as far as to have others, like fellow comedian Bob Zmuda, play the character on occasion while Kaufman appeared onstage simultaneously, stoking the confusion. In fact, we can't even be completely sure this picture of Clifton is actually Kaufman — it's just our best guess.