81s: Danny DeVito / Sparks
No More Wrestling
[ open on Brian Doyle-Murray seated next to Andy Kaufman ]
Brian Doyle-Murray: Andy Kaufman has been a frequent guest on "Saturday Night Live". It was on this show, in 1979, that Andy first wrestled a woman on natinoal television. Well, since thn, he has wrestled and defeated over 400 women. However, last month, in Memphis, Andy wrestled a man for the first time. Not just ,i>any man, but the Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry Lawler. Good evening, Andy. How did this match come about?
Andy Kaufman: Well, uh -- as you said, I was wrestling women and, uh, I went down to Memphis and I wrestled a lot of women down there, and, uh, in my -- in doing so, I made fun of Memphis and said a lot of things against Memphis and against a lot of people down there. So I was challenged by this man -- Jerry Lawler.
Brian Doyle-Murray: Well, what made you decide to accept his challenge?
Andy Kaufman: Well... being that after having 400 wrestlnig matches with women and winning every one of them, and, uh -- some of them being bigger than Jerry Lawler -- I was stupid enough to think that I had, you know, I had a chance against him.
Brian Doyle-Murray: Jerry Lawler was quite serious about this match. Let's take a look at his challenge to Andy.
[ cut to filmed footage from Jerry Lawler ]
Jerry Lawler: I make my living -- I put my food on the table -- by WRESTLING! And it's a very serious sport to me. And I don't like anybody like you coming around and making fun of it, or thinking they can do it just coming in walking off the street! So I'm gonna show you just how SERIOUS it is! So don't expect any mercy from me, Andy Kaufman! Because when you climb into that ring, I'm gonna consider you a PROFESSIONAL wrestler! And I'm gonna BURST your bubble about being a wrestler! And it'll be the last time you'll ever want to wrestle, the last time you'll ever want to step in the ring, and the last time that you fantasize about being a wrestler. Andy Kaufman -- You're gonna get HURT, Son!
[ return to Brian Doyle-Murray and Andy Kaufman ]
Brian Doyle-Murray: Well, that particular match took place last month at the Midsouth Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. Let's take a look at some of the action, with ringside commentary by Lance Russell.
[ cut to the match footage ]
[ bell dings ]
Lance Russell V/O: Here we go! And the bell time has sounded.
[ Lawler lunges forward, but Kaufman lifts a foot over the ropes to safety as the referee jumps between them ]
Lance Russell V/O: Referee Jerry Caulhoun. As Kaufman, at 160, is giving away better than 70 pounds to the king. Kaufman using the ropes as Lawler just stands and waits.
[ Kaufman taunts Lawler from a safe distance ]
Lance Russell V/O: Kaufman, right now, making fun of Lawler. Not a good idea. Again, heís going into his monkey routine. Lawler looking mammoth in comparison with Andy Kaufman.
[ Kaufman rushes back over the rope to safety ]
Lance Russell V/O: Andy Kaufman just may have overstepped his fantasy by stepping in with one of THE toughest wrestlers in the world.
[ Lawler follows Kaufman around the ring, until Kaufman again steps over the ropes ]
Lance Russell V/O: Lawler, ready for a little contact. Kaufman, on the outside, on the apron. Referee Jerry Calhoun. And Kaufman gets right back out. He broke the count. And heís showing everybody just how smart he was, and I would have to agree with him. The smartest thing he could do is stay away from Lawler all night long.
[ wipe to later in the match ]
Lance Russell V/O: Now Lawlerís getting tired. He gets out of the ring.
[ Lawler grabs a microphone and addresses Kaufman ]
Jerry Lawler: Let me ask you something: Did you come down here to wrestle, or act like an ASS?
[ the crowd cheers ]
Lance Russell V/O: Lawler, confronting Kaufman verbally, as he hadnít been able to lay a hand -- and the crowd reacting to it. Jerry said, "Did you come down here to wrestle, or to act like... so and so?"
Jerry Lawler: I'll stand right in the middle of the ring -- YOU put the headlock on me! I'm gonna give you the first shot!
[ wipe to Lawler standing in the ring waiting for Kaufman to take his free shot ]
Lance Russell V/O: Lawler saying, "Iíll stand in the middle of the ring and let you put a headlock on me." He said, "Iíll give you the first shot. Now, come on, letís wrestle!" Lawler still waiting as Kaufman, reluctant to even take a free headlock on... [ Kaufman wraps his arm around Lawler's neck ] Oh, now he goes. Lawler hasnít done anything. Kaufman very, very tentative. [ Lawler raises a pointed finer ] Lawler lifted up a finger, as if to say: "Are you ready? Wait one minute." And now Kaufmanís got him! Bob Zmuda, his ring manager, saying, "Squeeze down on him." Lawler grabs him! Straight up!
[ Lawler grabs Kaufman, raises him in the air, then drops backward ]
Lance Russell V/O: And he SLAMS Kaufman! On a side -- Kaufman is down, and maybe out! No, his legís twitching.
[ Kaufman twitches, then Lawler grabs him by his neck and holds him upside-down ]
Lance Russell V/O: Lawler, with a piledriver! Only the second --
[ Lawler drops Kaufman again ]
Lance Russell V/O: Itís gonna be a disqualification! Danny Dennis, his manager, not believing it. Jerry Lawler -- six minutes and fifty seconds, with a piledriver -- has been disqualified. The winner, by disqualification: Andy Kaufman.
[ Lawler grabs Kaufman by the neck again ]
Lance Russell V/O: Lawler, rolling Kaufman. Heís gonna give it to him again. He figures heís already lost it.
[ Lawler flips Kaufman upside-down again, and drops him to the mat ]
Lance Russell V/O: And Kaufman is OUT COLD!
[ wipe to slow-motion instant replay ]
Brian Doyle-Murray V/O: Ooh, letís take a look at the drop again in slow motion. Andy, now what was going through your mind, uh, at the time there?
Andy Kaufman V/O: Well... actually, I donít really remember too much. I just remember a lot of pain and dizzyness. And I donít remember much what it felt like, actually.
Brian Doyle-Murray V/O: Uh huh. Well, they had to carry you out of the ring, Andy. That was your exit from this match. How do you feel now?
[ dissolve back to Brian and Andy onstage ]
Andy Kaufman: Well, um -- I just feel -- I -- I would just like to apologize to -- Iím probably never gonna wrestle again. I donít plan on ever wrestling again. Uh... [ the audience applauds ] I would just -- What happened to me, it probably serves me right, and I deserved it, and I want to apologize to all the wrestling people -- the promoters and the wrestlers who Iíve caused any discomfort to for making a mockery of the sport these past few years, and IĎd also like to apologize to... to, uh... to all the women that Iíve wrestled and all the women who Iíve said, you know, who Iíve offended by saying those nasty things that Iíve been saying, and Iíd like to apologize to the public in general. If Iíve offended anybody, Iím sorry, and you know, I just... all I can say is, Iím sorry... and I hope that youíll forgive me.
Brian Doyle-Murray: Thank you, Andy!
[ they shake hands ]
[ fade ]