… Eric Idle
… Andy Kaufman
… Bob Zmuda
[At Home Base, host Eric Idle pretends to be jugglingfive orange balls which are, in fact, connected by athin metal wire. After a moment, he stops andaddresses the camera.]
Eric Idle: [with a grand gesture] Ladies andgentlemen, Andy Kaufman![Cheers and applause as Idle exits and Kaufman enters,wearing his grandfather’s elegant calf-length Sulkabathrobe, tied at the waist. He descends the stairs toHome Base, nods and smiles to acknowledge the applauseand addresses the audience mildly:]
Andy Kaufman: In the old days, uh, they used tohave wrestlers who went from town to town across thecountry in carnivals and offer five hundred dollars–[clears throat] – to any man who could last threeminutes in the ring with them. What I’ve been doingfor the last two years is going from town to town, inmy concerts all over the country, offering fivehundred dollars to any woman in the audience who couldpin me in a wrestling match in three minutes. This isa very legitimate thing and, uh, the reason I choosewomen … is because I’m not an athlete, I’m not–[clears throat] I really don’t know that much aboutwrestling but, ah– I– So I feel if I chose a man, Imight get beaten. …
But I just don’t feel that a woman is capable ofbeating a man in a wrestling match. [crowd groans]And, um, I’m not trying to be chauvinistic or, youknow, make fun of the women’s lib movement or do anykind of thing like that but what I’m trying to say is,I just can’t conceive of a woman having thecapabilities to do that. Even if a woman was to trainhard for a long time, I don’t think that she could bephysically capable and also I don’t think that a womanis mentally capable to … [crowd objects] No, no, no,wait! Because you really need a certain– You reallyneed a certain kind of way of thinking … uh, towrestle, strategy and all that. And I just don’t thinkwomen think that way. I think that they’re mostly goodfor — and, I mean, you might laugh when I say this –but I think they’re good for scrubbing the potatoesand washing the carrots … putting it in the pot–[crowd groans, hisses, objects, some clap] Please. Uh,um, mopping the floors, raising the babies. I thinkalso the men– [crowd objects] The men have let thewomen come to a higher, you know, a higher positionthan they’re able– I think the men are a bunch ofpussy cats and pansies for letting this happen. And Ithink the men in this country are nothing but pitifulspecimens of manhood.
So, if there’s any woman out there tonight who wouldlike to prove me wrong, like to take me on in awrestling match, I’d like to call you up all now. Youcan just volunteer. Five hundred dollars to any womanthat could pin my shoulders in three minutes. Here’smy referee, Bob Zmuda.
Bob Zmuda: [to the crowd] Okay, you heard him.Five hundred dollars to the woman who can come up heretonight and in a fair wrestling match– [Mimi, a lithebrunette from the front row, steps up on stage andZmuda directs her] Just line up right over here. Wehave some more — [to the crowd] In a fair wrestlingmatch, pin his shoulders to the ground for the countof three. Anybody from upstairs? Come on up. Fivehundred dollars — here’s the money. [holds up a wadof 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 countsthem] There’s one, two, three, four. Anybody else?Come on. [a very pregnant woman and a fourth womanjoin the others] … [a fifth woman runs through theaudience, 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 upnext to Zmuda] Let’s hear it for them – being verybrave. [cheers and applause] Very brave coming uphere. Let’s start off by asking them what their nameis. [Zmuda holds the mike up to each of the women]What’s your name?
Mimi: [the prettiest, most athletic one] MimiLambert.
Bob Zmuda: Mimi.
Ann: [tallest with eyeglasses] AnnMcKuen.
Bob Zmuda: Ann.
Linda: [extremely pregnant] LindaMichaels.
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 myhand over their head. Now, vote for the girl — byclapping — who you think can pin Andy’s shoulders tothe ground for the count of three. Okay, here wego.[Zmuda puts his hand over each woman’s head. Most ofthe women draw decent applause but Linda, the pregnantone, draws huge cheers and applause. Zmuda narrows itdown to Ann, the tall one, and Linda, who again drawsthe loudest response.]
Bob Zmuda: [commenting on the cheers for Linda]Four people up front that are doin’ this.
Andy Kaufman: [From offscreen, Kaufman asksZmuda to try the first girl, Mimi, again.] The one onthe end. Number One, she got a lot of–
Bob Zmuda: [to Kaufman, off Mimi] She wasclose?[Zmuda narrows it down to Mimi and pregnant Linda.Linda again draws the bigger response.]
Bob Zmuda: [off Linda] I think it’s her. Ithink it’s her. [to the crowd] Let’s hear it for her.Let’s thank the rest. [Zmuda raises Linda’s arm aboveher head triumphantly, she laughs, the crowd cheersand applauds, Zmuda leads Linda over to a smallmakeshift wrestling ring complete with padded ringposts and ropes] Come right–[The other women exit the stage and return to theirseats. A bell clangs a few times to signal that thematch 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. Kaufmanexactly why–
Andy Kaufman: [standing in the ring] I saidwhy. Because a woman– [takes microphone from Zmudaand uses it to address the crowd] I just want to say,I challenged, uh, Diana Nyad, the world’s– supposedlythe world’s strongest lady who swam to Cuba and back,she’s supposed to be so strong — I challenged her andshe said “No!” … Okay? She’s afraid. Okay? Here wego. … [hands the microphone back to Zmuda who iscollecting Linda’s valuables, Kaufman addresses Linda]Come on. [as Linda readies to enter the ring, astunned Kaufman points at her] You’re pregnant! [Lindabends over and enters the ring under the top rope] Howcan you wrestle me when you’re pregnant?
Bob Zmuda: [to Linda] Wait. Wait, are youpregnant?
Andy Kaufman: Zmuda, she’s pregnant!
Bob Zmuda: You’re pregnant? This–
Andy Kaufman: Oh, man!
Bob Zmuda: No, are you – are youpregnant?
Andy Kaufman: [points off stage] Get the otherone. Get the other one in right now. [crowd cheersbriefly]
Bob Zmuda: Hold it just a second. [to Linda]Are you pregnant?
Bob Zmuda: You are? Wait, you arepregnant?
Bob Zmuda: [to the crowd] She cannot do it. Shecan’t do it.
Andy Kaufman: [to Linda] Why did you come uphere when you’re pregnant? This is a realmatch!
Bob Zmuda: No, no, no, I’m sorry, I’msorry.
Andy Kaufman: You would hurt your baby.
Bob Zmuda: The next girl, who was close, Ithink–
Andy Kaufman: — was the tall one!
Bob Zmuda: [points to Mimi, the volunteer fromthe front row, who was not really the tall one – butwho remembers that now?] The tall one! Withthe–[Cheers and applause as Linda exits the ring and Mimiarrives on stage.]
Andy Kaufman: [to Linda] How can you dothat?
Bob Zmuda: [to Linda] How could you come uppregnant like that?[Mimi removes her skirt to reveal that she’s wearing apair of tights.]
Andy Kaufman: [to the crowd] Ladies andgentlemen, 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 duringthe following.]
Bob Zmuda: Okay, here we go. … [Zmuda entersthe 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 forthe count of three. He doesn’t have to pin her. Shehas to pin him. [to Mimi who enters the ring] Are youall ready?
Andy Kaufman: Now–
Bob Zmuda: [to Mimi] What’s your name?
Bob Zmuda: Mimi, okay.
Andy Kaufman: [to Mimi] You’ve never seen mebefore, right?
Bob Zmuda: This is not set up. Okay, threeminutes.
Andy Kaufman: You’re not– [points to hertights] Why are you in those–?
Mimi: [casually] I’m a dancing–
Bob Zmuda: You’re dancing, okay. …[Kaufman removes his bathrobe and tosses it outsidethe ring to reveal that he’s wearing white longjohnsunder black trunks with black socks. The bell rings tosignal the start of the match. Mimi immediately goesfor Kaufman’s legs to the delight of the crowd whichis 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 aprofessional referee. The crowd is totally into it:”Come on, Mimi!” “Keep going!” We get a ratherimpressive shot of Mimi’s rear end as Kaufman grappleswith her. She backs him into one of the padded ringposts. “Go, Mimi!”]
Andy Kaufman: [to Mimi] Wait a minute, wait aminute …[Kaufman maneuvers away from the post but Mimi forceshim back again, this time trapping Zmuda betweenKaufman and the post. “Go, Mimi, go!” Kaufmanillegally rabbit punches Mimi, the crowd roars itsobjection, and Kaufman raises his hands to protest hisinnocence. Kaufman puts Mimi in an armlock and forcesher 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. Nobiting.[Kaufman somehow manages to roll Mimi on her back. Thecrowd goes nuts: “Get up, Mimi!” “Push! Push!” “Comeon, Mimi” “Boo!” Kaufman nearly pins her but Mimitwists her body underneath him until she is on herstomach. Kaufman performs another illegal maneuver onher neck, then pulls her hair. She tries to grab forhis hair. Kaufman raises a hand to protest to Zmudaand knocks the referee’s eyeglasses off. Kaufman,still atop Mimi, politely hands the glasses back toZmuda. Mimi slips free and forces Kaufman to his feet.Hugging the back of his knees, she tries to topplehim. He finally falls and the crowd roars withdelight. But Kaufman quickly rolls her over on herback again and illegally knees her in the stomachseveral times. He’s clearly faking all of theseillegal moves but the crowd boos anyway. Zmuda pullshim away and gives him a warning. Kaufman risestriumphantly, arms in the air, and struts around thering, taunting the angry, booing crowd.]
Andy Kaufman: Shut up! Shut up! Shut–![Mimi jumps Kaufman from behind, grabbing his kneesand pulling him backward to the mat. Huge cheers andapplause as Kaufman goes down. Now, Kaufman grabs theback of Mimi’s knees and forces her gorgeous rear endup into the air. He calls for Zmuda to count her outbut her shoulders are not quite pinned so Zmuda cannotdo so. Abruptly, Mimi turns the tables on him andnearly pins him three times as the crowd goes berserk.Zmuda nearly counts out Kaufman but Kaufman alwaysmanages to kick free. Finally, Kaufman manages to getMimi on her back again and illegally chokes her. Thecrowd objects.]
Andy Kaufman: [atop Mimi, yelling at crowd] I’mnot chokin’! Come on! Competition! Let’s get somecompetition here![The match continues. The wrestlers trade advantage afew times before Kaufman finally pins an exhaustedMimi.]
Bob Zmuda: [counts her out, slapping the mat ashe does] One! Two! Three![The bell rings and the match is over — about threeminutes and fifteen seconds after it began.]
Bob Zmuda: He’s got it! He’s got it![Kaufman rises and pretends to kick the downed Mimiseveral times as the crowd boos. She tries to rise andhe shoves her down again. Zmuda separates them.Kaufman grabs the microphone and addresses thecamera.]
Andy Kaufman: Diana Nyad! I challenged you! Youchickened out! You swam to Cuba! [high-pitched voice]With all the sharks and the jellyfish! [resumestaunting] But you’re afraid to wrestle me?! Diana, Iwon’t offer you five hundred dollars! I’ll offer you–What do you want? I’ll offer you one thousand, twothousand — you want ten thousand dollars?! I’ll giveit to ya. If you could pin me here in this ring! Notonly that but I’ll have a barber here and, if you beatme, I will have my head shaved bald in front ofeveryone right here in the ring! Diana, any time,baby! I don’t think you can do it! … I don’tthink you can do it! Diana, do I hear you? [cluckslike a chicken] … Come on, baby! Wrestle me![applause, groans, plenty of boos and hisses asKaufman struts around] Shut up! Shutup![Fade out on Kaufman taunting the crowd. During this,we see Mimi Lambert — heiress to the Lacostesportswear fortune, dance student of Martha Graham’s– back in her front row seat, fixing herhair.]