By inverting the relationship between comedian and audience, making it so the audience did not actually know if they were watching a performance or not, and making their reaction the joke, he created a new way of entertaining.

Andy Kaufman was the first person to realize it was just as funny to mess around with the audience as it was to make them laugh, and yet no one has ever done it better than him.

It’s as though someone discovered a new way to play an instrument, and then no one else ever improved on it afterwards.

He remains in the public imagination as a hoaxter, but for those born after his death, it might be difficult to understand just how effectively he messed with people’s minds.. ” segment, “Andy Kaufman—the actor-comedian and Intergender Wrestling Champion—had his first wrestling match with a member of his own sex.” In true Kaufman form, the segment descended in chaos.

After he went too far with his shtick, I cheered when wrestler Jerry Lawler stepped in and shoved him to the ground.“Lawler, you think you’re really being smart,” Kaufman ranted. Lawler eventually slapped him across the face, which unleashed a torrent of expletives and coffee thrown in the direction of the wrestler.

Finally, you can’t honor a great song-and-dance man without a musical number, and this is one of his best.

It just gets funnier and funnier the further it goes on, and every time you think he’s finally going to say something else it just becomes more amazing.

Andy Kaufman’s stretch as an object of cultural attention was surprisingly short, 1975 to 1984, yet he packed a remarkable number of first-rate stunts into that time, including boorishly challenging to beat any female alive at wrasslin’ and spending his off-days as a key player on the sitcom as a contestant vying for the favor of comely Patrice Burke, identified in host Jim Lange’s intro as a “chronic disco dancer” who wants to know whether “the Hustle [can] really clear up the stress in the lower tract” (your guess is as good as mine).

In hindsight it’s clear that Kaufman was in full-on Latka Gravas mode on this occasion, although in the guise of “Baji Kimran.” It’s a pity, really, that Kaufman’s refusal to play by the games of the entertainment industry precluded a regular career as a thespian, because his acting here is truly nonpareil.

Both Greg and Marcia Brady (Barry Williams, Maureen Mc Cormick) appeared as celebrity bachelors/bachelorettes.

And, who knows, maybe his appearance on “The Dating Game” inspired future “Family Feud” host Richard Dawson to get into game shows.

How often is the first to do something also the greatest?