Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells All
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Andy Kaufman Revealed!: Best Friend Tells All

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  501 ratings  ·  48 reviews
With a movie about Kaufman already out, this is his manager and friend Zmuda's recollection of the late comedian. Best remembered as English-challenged immigrant Latka Gravas on the '70s sitcom "Taxi", Kaufman also appeared regularly on "Saturday Night Live", did stand-up, and wrestled women. Photos.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Back Bay Books (first published September 7th 1999)
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Zmuda
This is a hilarious book on Andy Kaufman with too much emphasis on Bob Zmuda! Bob's personal stories may be funny, but they're not really relevant. I bought this book to read about Kaufman, not Zmuda. But it's still worth reading! When Bob does talk about Andy (which is about 70-80% of the book) it's really enjoyable! I would suggest this book to anyone that want's to dissect the enigma that was Andy Kaufman.
Mark Russell
Seriously one of the funniest things I have ever read. For a man whose on-camera hijinks were legendary, you wouldn't think that what happened to him offscreen would be even funnier, but it was. Among the highlights:

Bob Zmuda tells of his time working as an assistant for "Mr. X," a big time Hollywood screenwriter (though he never divulges Mr. X's identity, he swears that this guy wrote on a lot of movies that you would instantly recognize as major films). Mr. X specialized in gritty, true-to-lif...more
James
I was trapped on a Swiss mountaintop (Thyon) with Andy for two summer months. At that time, Andy was just on the cusp of his fame, performing in NY clubs. So although there were a few TM instructors from NY there who knew about Andy's talents, most of us did not -- at first.

In addition to dairy cows with bells, high meadows all abloom, and surrounding snow-capped peaks, Maharishi would touch down in a chopper once in a while, and the repartee between Andy and Maharishi was both philosophical an...more
Mandyhello
Complex and mysterious like Kaufman himself.. Only the last 30 pages or so are about Andy's death (or faked death) which was probably good because it was shocking after all his antics. I think he's probably dead but I also think Clifton is reeeeeal!
Chris Brusich
I knew of some of Andy's work before reading this and thought he was funny, this book opened my eyes to the comedic genius of Kaufman. I love the crazy stories of MR X.( Norman Wexler, the script writer of Serpico)
Another amazing part of the book that kept me in stitches was the all of the Tony Clifton stories. READ THIS!
Johnny Galt
Funny and real. More than just jokes about a comedian, by a comedian. More than just MAN ON THE MOON. One should read and watch both simultaneously. Many of the skits in the movie are described in more detail in the book! Great for starters who want to know more about Andy and told by his closest friend.
Slavoj Zizek
A very funny memoir from Bob Zmuda, accomplice to Andy Kaufman, comedic force of chaos. Kaufman was a true artist among comedians, he was interested more in playing the audience like an instrument, reversing the set boundaries and becoming the audience himself, watching the reactions of those confused or angry patrons playing unwilling parts in Kaufman's show. Andy Kaufman was a true master of the disruption of traditional life, a force to shake the observer out of complacency and into something...more
Sue Silverman
Here's the thing: This is not an authoritative, well researched biography of Andy Kaufman. In fact, it is probably more about Bob Zmuda than Kaufman. But it is a glimpse into the world of Kaufman/Zmuda and a behind-the-scenes insight into their ideas and philosophies about performance. I couldn't decide to what degree Zmuda is full of it, but then I realized, who cares? Andy Kaufman's performances were all about blurring the lines between reality and b.s. - if this book is a continuation of that...more
Andy
This book inspires me on so many levels. Andy Kaufman is a genius, and he lived his life in such a unique way.

I met Bob Zmuda in character as Tony Clifton at the Andy Kaufman Awards show in NYC in 2009. He was amazing, He was drunk and belligerent, and it was awesome. The experience really made the book come alive.

The stories Zmuda tells are unbelievable and interesting. They'll make you wish your own life wasn't so boring. We're all so afraid to try things. Andy didn't have that fear, and that...more
Raina
This made me laugh out loud several times, and most of the others I was smiling like an idiot. I've always loved Andy, so reading about him in further detail was truly fascinating and entertaining as hell for me, even if I do kind of feel as though Zmuda was stretching the truth a bit too much at parts. The overuse of a thesaurus was pretty apparent, too. Well worth the read, though. Halfway through it I had to go on Youtube and binge-watch a million Andy videos. God, he was the best. Just the g...more
Jay
Taxi reruns on WPIX were always a good watch along with Cheers and the Honeymooners. I believe they ran in succession from 10 pm till 11:30. Then they played the national anthem and then went off the air. (do stations even go off the air anymore?)

Anyways, this book provides a candid and personal look at the wacky man who brought Latka to life on the small screen. Bob Zmuda--Kaufman's manager, closest friend, and even skit assistant--gives us the scoop in a juicy tell-all. From Kaufman's shy begi...more
Mark
Andy Kaufman was a comedy god probably a little before his time. The book helps you realize his genius even if you don’t see how reading the Great Gatsby from beginning to end to an audience expecting a comedy show is. Bonus points for being one of the few books that actually made me cry, yeah, I know, weird.
Justin
Andy Kaufman is one of the most interesting people I have ever read about. I was too young to remember him , but my Father loved him. My sense of humor is directly influenced by Andy Kaufman through my Dad. I can't tell you how many times my dad would sing me a jibberish song just as Andy would.

Great read.
gabe
This is one of the best bio books i've come across. It is responsible for my thinking books were good and worth exploring. Bob Zmuda was Kaufman's best friend and writing partner and this books gives the reader an inside look at one of the most interesting people we had the pleasure of knowing in the 20th century.
Scott
Amazing account of one of the funniest and strangest people who ever lived... Andy! Zmuda really paints a great picture of a very mysterious man. In one sense, I felt bad that Zmuda ruins all of Andy's secrets yet I feel closer to understanding Andy as the sensitive and complicated person that he was.
Christopher
"Lenny Bruce created the freedom of speech for us to say whatever we wanted to, and Andy Kaufman created the space for us to do whatever the f**k we wanted to". - Comedian Marc Maron

Great insider perspective on Kaufman's innovative and groundbreaking comedic antics. Strangely inspiring too.
Abed Gheith


This had it's moments. But overall I was kinda expecting more of an Andycentric account. More from his mind and opinions. Bob Zmuda is interesting and has good insight into Andy. But it just leaves me wanting more Andy. That it was I think I enjoyed Man on the Moon more.
Genevieve
Had to read this so that I know what Kyle is getting into. He's going on the road with Tony Clifton!
If you've seen Man on The Moon - this explains Kaufman's life more in depth.
Ellie
Confession: I love Andy Kaufman so much I've even read his novels so I probably shouldn't even review this or, well, take it for what it's worth. It's not great writing but a fun story of a great performer. If you love-or even like-Kaufman, you'll want to read this.
Jessica
Mar 18, 2008 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Jessica by: William Benton
A heart-wearming, yet delightfully off-kilter tale of best friends who happen(ed) to be comedic geniuses. Full of outrageous (and sometimes sad) stories -- sure to entertain and inform. Infotainment! I read it all in two days.
Bob Zmuda is awesome.
Jeffery
While I've always been curious about Andy Kaufman, this falls under the "biographer places himself too much in front of the biographee."

Some interesting tales, but you begin to question the credibility of some of his tales near the end.
Dalton
One of my favorite books. It is about late comedian Andy Kaufman (who hated being called a comedian, referred to himself as a "song and dance man") from the point of view of his best friend Bob Zmuda. A great book that I highly recommend!
Buffy
This is the true story of the sordid Kaufman, written by his best friend and partner in crime Bob Zmuda. The story is brilliant and Andy has been a true hero of mine ever since. I am re-reading it now...that's how good it is.
Richard
Fine book- reminds me of Aleister Crowley or Mullah Nasrudin.
This book really explains a lot of his comedy sense and his comedy scene- Like Tony Clifton would say,"Read the friggin' book, you dumb asswhipe."
Chris
Funny collection of stories and memories from Andy Kaufman's writing partner Bob Zmuda. It was amazing the lengths Andy went to, to pull off some jokes. Definitely a funny book and a fun read.
Seth
The writing is pretty bad and most of the surprising "behind the scenes" stuff you can find in "Man on the Moon". For a good Kaufman bio, read "Lost in the Funhouse" by Bill Zehme.
James
If you have any interest in Andy Kaufman, this book is required reading. I'm not crazy about the writing style of Bob Zmuda, but the stories and insights are incredible and quite detailed.
Adam Newman
Loved it. I read this before I watched the movie and it gave me a great insight of the "real" or so I think, real person that Andy Kaufman was. He is quite a guy.
Taylor
best biography i've ever read. read it in 9th grade. carrying this around made me feel very sophisticated. pretty dynamic when it comes to tone. great stuff.
Brad Sr.
Bob Zumuda is such a putz for the way he takes credit for Andy's comic genius and success, while claiming he advised against every bad move or bomb.
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