Andy Kaufman

... Eric Idle
... Andy Kaufman
... Bob Zmuda

[At Home Base, host Eric Idle pretends to be juggling five orange balls which are, in fact, connected by a thin metal wire. After a moment, he stops and addresses the camera.]

Eric Idle: [with a grand gesture] Ladies and gentlemen, Andy Kaufman!

[Cheers and applause as Idle exits and Kaufman enters, wearing his grandfather's elegant calf-length Sulka bathrobe, tied at the waist. He descends the stairs to Home Base, nods and smiles to acknowledge the applause and addresses the audience mildly:]

Andy Kaufman: In the old days, uh, they used to have wrestlers who went from town to town across the country in carnivals and offer five hundred dollars-- [clears throat] - to any man who could last three minutes in the ring with them. What I've been doing for the last two years is going from town to town, in my concerts all over the country, offering five hundred dollars to any woman in the audience who could pin me in a wrestling match in three minutes. This is a very legitimate thing and, uh, the reason I choose women ... is because I'm not an athlete, I'm not-- [clears throat] I really don't know that much about wrestling but, ah-- I-- So I feel if I chose a man, I might get beaten. ...

But I just don't feel that a woman is capable of beating a man in a wrestling match. [crowd groans] And, um, I'm not trying to be chauvinistic or, you know, make fun of the women's lib movement or do any kind of thing like that but what I'm trying to say is, I just can't conceive of a woman having the capabilities to do that. Even if a woman was to train hard for a long time, I don't think that she could be physically capable and also I don't think that a woman is mentally capable to ... [crowd objects] No, no, no, wait! Because you really need a certain-- You really need a certain kind of way of thinking ... uh, to wrestle, strategy and all that. And I just don't think women think that way. I think that they're mostly good for -- and, I mean, you might laugh when I say this -- but I think they're good for scrubbing the potatoes and washing the carrots ... putting it in the pot-- [crowd groans, hisses, objects, some clap] Please. Uh, um, mopping the floors, raising the babies. I think also the men-- [crowd objects] The men have let the women come to a higher, you know, a higher position than they're able-- I think the men are a bunch of pussy cats and pansies for letting this happen. And I think the men in this country are nothing but pitiful specimens of manhood.

So, if there's any woman out there tonight who would like to prove me wrong, like to take me on in a wrestling match, I'd like to call you up all now. You can just volunteer. Five hundred dollars to any woman that could pin my shoulders in three minutes. Here's my referee, Bob Zmuda.

[Bearded, bespectacled Bob Zmuda enters briskly wearing a referee's striped shirt and carrying a hand mike into which he speaks.]

Bob Zmuda: [to the crowd] Okay, you heard him. Five hundred dollars to the woman who can come up here tonight and in a fair wrestling match-- [Mimi, a lithe brunette from the front row, steps up on stage and Zmuda directs her] Just line up right over here. We have some more -- [to the crowd] In a fair wrestling match, pin his shoulders to the ground for the count of three. Anybody from upstairs? Come on up. Five hundred dollars -- here's the money. [holds up a wad of cash as a tall woman in a dress arrives on stage] This is real. This is not set up! Right this way. Anybody else? [more volunteers approach, Zmuda counts them] There's one, two, three, four. Anybody else? Come on. [a very pregnant woman and a fourth woman join the others] ... [a fifth woman runs through the audience, Zmuda points to her] Here's another one. We've got one here. Anybody upstairs? That's it? Anybody else? Okay, fine. [five women have lined up next to Zmuda] Let's hear it for them - being very brave. [cheers and applause] Very brave coming up here. Let's start off by asking them what their name is. [Zmuda holds the mike up to each of the women] What's your name?

Mimi: [the prettiest, most athletic one] Mimi Lambert.

Bob Zmuda: Mimi.

Ann: [tallest with eyeglasses] Ann McKuen.

Bob Zmuda: Ann.

Linda: [extremely pregnant] Linda Michaels.

Bob Zmuda: Linda.

Kelly: Kelly Bolton.

Bob Zmuda: Kelly.

Debbie: Debbie White.

Bob Zmuda: Debbie. [to the crowd] Look at 'em. It's up to you to choose, the audience to choose. ... This is not set up. This is real. I'm gonna put my hand over their head. Now, vote for the girl -- by clapping -- who you think can pin Andy's shoulders to the ground for the count of three. Okay, here we go.

[Zmuda puts his hand over each woman's head. Most of the women draw decent applause but Linda, the pregnant one, draws huge cheers and applause. Zmuda narrows it down to Ann, the tall one, and Linda, who again draws the loudest response.]

Bob Zmuda: [commenting on the cheers for Linda] Four people up front that are doin' this.

Andy Kaufman: [From offscreen, Kaufman asks Zmuda to try the first girl, Mimi, again.] The one on the end. Number One, she got a lot of--

Bob Zmuda: [to Kaufman, off Mimi] She was close?

[Zmuda narrows it down to Mimi and pregnant Linda. Linda again draws the bigger response.]

Bob Zmuda: [off Linda] I think it's her. I think it's her. [to the crowd] Let's hear it for her. Let's thank the rest. [Zmuda raises Linda's arm above her head triumphantly, she laughs, the crowd cheers and applauds, Zmuda leads Linda over to a small makeshift wrestling ring complete with padded ring posts and ropes] Come right--

[The other women exit the stage and return to their seats. A bell clangs a few times to signal that the match is almost ready to begin.]

Bob Zmuda: [to Linda] Take your shoes off, it'll be a lot easier. [as Linda takes her shoes off, Zmuda addresses the crowd] I want to ask Mr. Kaufman exactly why--

Andy Kaufman: [standing in the ring] I said why. Because a woman-- [takes microphone from Zmuda and uses it to address the crowd] I just want to say, I challenged, uh, Diana Nyad, the world's-- supposedly the world's strongest lady who swam to Cuba and back, she's supposed to be so strong -- I challenged her and she said "No!" ... Okay? She's afraid. Okay? Here we go. ... [hands the microphone back to Zmuda who is collecting Linda's valuables, Kaufman addresses Linda] Come on. [as Linda readies to enter the ring, a stunned Kaufman points at her] You're pregnant! [Linda bends over and enters the ring under the top rope] How can you wrestle me when you're pregnant?

Bob Zmuda: [to Linda] Wait. Wait, are you pregnant?

Andy Kaufman: Zmuda, she's pregnant!

Bob Zmuda: You're pregnant? This--

Andy Kaufman: Oh, man!

Bob Zmuda: No, are you - are you pregnant?

Andy Kaufman: [points off stage] Get the other one. Get the other one in right now. [crowd cheers briefly]

Bob Zmuda: Hold it just a second. [to Linda] Are you pregnant?

Linda: Yeah.

Bob Zmuda: You are? Wait, you are pregnant?

Linda: Yes.

Bob Zmuda: [to the crowd] She cannot do it. She can't do it.

Andy Kaufman: [to Linda] Why did you come up here when you're pregnant? This is a real match!

Bob Zmuda: No, no, no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

Andy Kaufman: You would hurt your baby.

Bob Zmuda: The next girl, who was close, I think--

Andy Kaufman: -- was the tall one!

Bob Zmuda: [points to Mimi, the volunteer from the front row, who was not really the tall one - but who remembers that now?] The tall one! With the--

[Cheers and applause as Linda exits the ring and Mimi arrives on stage.]

Andy Kaufman: [to Linda] How can you do that?

Bob Zmuda: [to Linda] How could you come up pregnant like that?

[Mimi removes her skirt to reveal that she's wearing a pair of tights.]

Andy Kaufman: [to the crowd] Ladies and gentlemen, I must apologize. This lady is pregnant. Ah, we didn't know that. Okay. Here we go.

[Linda collects her belongings and leaves the stage. Mimi removes her shoes and adjusts her tights during the following.]

Bob Zmuda: Okay, here we go. ... [Zmuda enters the ring and addresses the crowd] It's a three minute, it's a three minute round. It's a three minute round. They-- She has to pin Andy's shoulders to the mat for the count of three. He doesn't have to pin her. She has to pin him. [to Mimi who enters the ring] Are you all ready?

Andy Kaufman: Now--

Bob Zmuda: [to Mimi] What's your name?

Mimi: Mimi.

Bob Zmuda: Mimi, okay.

Andy Kaufman: [to Mimi] You've never seen me before, right?

Bob Zmuda: This is not set up. Okay, three minutes.

Andy Kaufman: You're not-- [points to her tights] Why are you in those--?

Mimi: [casually] I'm a dancing--

Bob Zmuda: You're dancing, okay. ...

[Kaufman removes his bathrobe and tosses it outside the ring to reveal that he's wearing white longjohns under black trunks with black socks. The bell rings to signal the start of the match. Mimi immediately goes for Kaufman's legs to the delight of the crowd which is clearly on her side, shouting, "Mimi!" "Come on, Mimi!" and other forms of encouragement.]

Andy Kaufman: [to the crowd] Shut up!

[Zmuda circles around the two wrestlers like a professional referee. The crowd is totally into it: "Come on, Mimi!" "Keep going!" We get a rather impressive shot of Mimi's rear end as Kaufman grapples with her. She backs him into one of the padded ring posts. "Go, Mimi!"]

Andy Kaufman: [to Mimi] Wait a minute, wait a minute ...

[Kaufman maneuvers away from the post but Mimi forces him back again, this time trapping Zmuda between Kaufman and the post. "Go, Mimi, go!" Kaufman illegally rabbit punches Mimi, the crowd roars its objection, and Kaufman raises his hands to protest his innocence. Kaufman puts Mimi in an armlock and forces her back, allowing Zmuda to free himself.]

Andy Kaufman: She was biting, Zmuda!

Bob Zmuda: What?

Andy Kaufman: She was biting!

Bob Zmuda: No biting. No biting. No biting.

[Kaufman somehow manages to roll Mimi on her back. The crowd goes nuts: "Get up, Mimi!" "Push! Push!" "Come on, Mimi" "Boo!" Kaufman nearly pins her but Mimi twists her body underneath him until she is on her stomach. Kaufman performs another illegal maneuver on her neck, then pulls her hair. She tries to grab for his hair. Kaufman raises a hand to protest to Zmuda and knocks the referee's eyeglasses off. Kaufman, still atop Mimi, politely hands the glasses back to Zmuda. Mimi slips free and forces Kaufman to his feet. Hugging the back of his knees, she tries to topple him. He finally falls and the crowd roars with delight. But Kaufman quickly rolls her over on her back again and illegally knees her in the stomach several times. He's clearly faking all of these illegal moves but the crowd boos anyway. Zmuda pulls him away and gives him a warning. Kaufman rises triumphantly, arms in the air, and struts around the ring, taunting the angry, booing crowd.]

Andy Kaufman: Shut up! Shut up! Shut--!

[Mimi jumps Kaufman from behind, grabbing his knees and pulling him backward to the mat. Huge cheers and applause as Kaufman goes down. Now, Kaufman grabs the back of Mimi's knees and forces her gorgeous rear end up into the air. He calls for Zmuda to count her out but her shoulders are not quite pinned so Zmuda cannot do so. Abruptly, Mimi turns the tables on him and nearly pins him three times as the crowd goes berserk. Zmuda nearly counts out Kaufman but Kaufman always manages to kick free. Finally, Kaufman manages to get Mimi on her back again and illegally chokes her. The crowd objects.]

Andy Kaufman: [atop Mimi, yelling at crowd] I'm not chokin'! Come on! Competition! Let's get some competition here!

[The match continues. The wrestlers trade advantage a few times before Kaufman finally pins an exhausted Mimi.]

Bob Zmuda: [counts her out, slapping the mat as he does] One! Two! Three!

[The bell rings and the match is over -- about three minutes and fifteen seconds after it began.]

Bob Zmuda: He's got it! He's got it!

[Kaufman rises and pretends to kick the downed Mimi several times as the crowd boos. She tries to rise and he shoves her down again. Zmuda separates them. Kaufman grabs the microphone and addresses the camera.]

Andy Kaufman: Diana Nyad! I challenged you! You chickened out! You swam to Cuba! [high-pitched voice] With all the sharks and the jellyfish! [resumes taunting] But you're afraid to wrestle me?! Diana, I won't offer you five hundred dollars! I'll offer you-- What do you want? I'll offer you one thousand, two thousand -- you want ten thousand dollars?! I'll give it to ya. If you could pin me here in this ring! Not only that but I'll have a barber here and, if you beat me, I will have my head shaved bald in front of everyone right here in the ring! Diana, any time, baby! I don't think you can do it! ... I don't think you can do it! Diana, do I hear you? [clucks like a chicken] ... Come on, baby! Wrestle me! [applause, groans, plenty of boos and hisses as Kaufman struts around] Shut up! Shut up!

[Fade out on Kaufman taunting the crowd. During this, we see Mimi Lambert -- heiress to the Lacoste sportswear fortune, dance student of Martha Graham's -- back in her front row seat, fixing her hair.]

Submitted Anonymously

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