M Ted, I used to watch wrestling when I was a kid, and have watched occasionally since then. If the type of stuff Kaufman did on the Letterman show is taken in that context - anger as entertainment - then it truly was something new. Please note, I don't get a kick out of anger-based shows like Jerry Springer, either. This phenomenon also seems to be based on pro-wrestling. I'm not saying anyone else shouldn't enjoy anger as entertainment, only that I don't.
I can understand why some people would think this is art. There are a number of people who've done similar things here with flaming. But humor? No way.
This is what I meant when I said "people being made fools of." I meant the people who had never encountered staged fights, presented as reality for the sake of entertainment, and who believed what happened was true. It may be a good thing for people to be suspicious of whether anything is true, especially on TV, but it can go too far. If there are people who believe his death was faked, just another performance - isn't that going a bit too far?
On his humor - yes, he could be very funny at times. Other times, it was embarrassing. (Latka drove me nuts, but again, I know others thought he was hilarious.) I don't know if that was intentional or not - just trying for another emotional reaction from the audience.