Then again, Jerry Lawler, Howdy Doody, and even that little old lady riding the pony at the Carnegie Hall gig were appreciative enough of his style, to co-operate. If Andy Kaufman was having the people on, then these more 'credible' people must have been doing it too.
When one counts up the number of people involved, behind the scenes in Andy's 'happenings'; and this stretches from the actor on the sound stage, to the executive in the boardroom, it gives you a fair indication of how many people were actually tuned into him, and the way he saw things.
Jerry Lawler, himself, acknowledges Kaufman's contribution to future mindsets: "That's something you can't really deny was a great thing.I also think that that was one of the things that helped create sports entertainment as its evolved into today. It's one of the first times that anybody from Hollywood came into wrestling and was involved in a storyline so to speak.".
There are people who walk around art galleries and museums every day, transfixed in front of canvasses, that are randomly splashed with varying colours of house paint (each one meticulously deposited from a different elevation, or body angle), and consider, "What this is trying to say" to them?.
Andy Kaufman would take his sleeping bag to a gig, and kip through the whole 'show'!
Why doesn't anybody say that Van Gogh painted like a 6 year old? Or that the Mahavishnu Orchestra was crap. Rhetorical, granted, but I think you see what I mean. Entertainment is a very relative concept, and not everything that we classify as art is, or is meant to be entertaining. Not everything we see on television is, neither. We just have a tendency to wrap everything up in the same bundle, and if it's not easily fathomed, we tend to switch to another channel. "Fans' attention spans are shorter than they used to be. So you have to cater to shorter attention spans" Jerry 'The King'.
I am left feeling that maybe Andy Kaufman was a bit before his time. He predicted the future, in a way. I think, perhaps he may have forseen the day when everybody will cheer, and admire the Emperor's new clothes. Or when the mother, coming home from work, asks her child "What are you watching on the T.V.", to which the child will answer "I don't know".
Incidentally, Jerry 'The King' Lawler has his own home-page, called (well, it would be, wouldn't it) The King's Court There is also a video of the Letterman Show incident, in there, plus the 'I'll give you a free headlock' bit.