For some reason, all night last night, I dreamed about Andy Kaufman.
I realize I may anger all of the internet when I say this, but I’m not a fan of Andy Kaufman. (Andy Kaufman fans are disproportionately overrepresented on the internet, much like Joss Whedon fans. Though I am one of the overrepresented fans in the latter example.)
So, all night long in my dreams, I kept explaining to various people why I didn’t like Andy Kaufman. I’m not sure why Andy Kaufman was on my brain. Could be this post on Ken Levine’s blog. But seriously. I feel like my time was wasted, even though I was sleeping and probably wouldn’t have done anything productive with that time anyway.
So then, on the way to work, I started thinking about dating shows for some reason. (I can’t explain the way my brain works, only that it does work, and random jumps like this are bound to happen at some point.)
Anyway, I used to love dating shows. Change of Heart, Singled Out, Elimidate, Fifth Wheel, Studs, Blind Date. They were awesome, and always came on either right before or right after American Gladiators. But, of course, my favorite was always Love Connection. With its pastel colored couches, and heart-themed set decoration, and video feed to talk to someone who’s sitting backstage. And Chuck Woolery, second only to Gene Rayburn as the best game show host ever. So I googled Love Connection, because I wanted to see if it was available on dvd, and if so, how much it costs. (More on this in a moment). So, of course, google tells me to go to YouTube to watch clips, and I oblige. And in the sidebar thing where they show you supposedly-related clips – that usually are not at all related to what you’re watching – I see this clip of (who else?) Andy Kaufman on The Dating Game.
Clearly, I’m not the only one who makes the leap from Andy Kaufman to dating shows.
Addendum 1: Love Connection is not available on dvd. I must ask the universe: Why not? That show was awesome. It only gets better with time. The outfits, the hair, the audience reactions. And all the YouTube clips are grainy or pixely or have that distortion line at the bottom of the screen that you get when you’ve watched a VHS tape 60 times. Does the Game Show Network still show reruns? I may have to start dvr-ing it.
Addendum 2: If you must know, here’s the reason I don’t like Andy Kaufman: He wasn’t a comedian. (I’m going somewhere with this. That alone is not my reason.) At most he was a performance artist, and I don’t really like performance art that goes on for the length of a person’s career. He was kind of an asshole, and got pissy when people actually liked the stuff he did. I loved him on Taxi, which I suppose makes me a member of the unrefined proletariat. And he wasn’t even that funny. The rule is, you’re allowed to be as dickish as you are funny. If you’re more dick than funny, it doesn’t make you a misunderstood artist. You’re just an asshole.
Let’s look at young David Letterman:
- kind of a dick
- taught us new things about throwing stuff off of roofs
We can call him a misunderstood comedy genius.
But now let’s look at older David Letterman:
- At his best, he’s equally as funny as his younger self. At his worst, he’s much less funny than Young Dave. Average it out and call him slightly less than hilarious.
- But, he’s become crotchety and complainy in his old age. When this is directed at people (Paris Hilton, Joaquin Phoenix), he reaches the same Funny-Dick Equilibrium ™ as he did earlier in his career. But when he’s doing his monologue, he tips the scale to the dickish side of things.
Ergo, older David Letterman is more dick than funny, and that makes him mostly just an asshole.
We could similarly analyze young George Carlin vs. old George Carlin. (I look forward to your hate mail.)
Interestingly, you don’t have to be exceptionally dickish to be exceptionally funny. But if you’re too light on the dickishness, you get relegated to daytime TV (Ellen DeGeneres).
The Funny-Dick Equilibrium ™ is similar to – but not the same as – Asshole Charm ™, a term I coined after watching Vince Vaughn in Swingers.