Bob Zmuda Discusses How Close Andy Kaufman Was To Being A Part Of The WWE, The Entire Backstory Of Andy vs. Jerry Lawler, If There Is Any Heat With Him Against “The King,” & A Possible Challenge Being Laid Out For Tony Clifton To Wrestle Lawler Next Year
The co-executive producer of “Man On The Moon,” the founder of HBO’s “Comic Relief,” & the man who penned the foreword for the all-new book “Dear Andy Kaufman: I Hate Your Guts” (now available at retail stores & bookstores nationwide), Bob Zmuda, was one the special guests on this week’s live edition (11/30/09) of Monday Night Mayhem (presented by ReelWrestling.com), hosted by The Big Mosh, Blade, & “The Chairman Of The Board” Todd Vincent. You can feel The Mayhem live & in streaming audio every Monday night (at 8PM ET/7PM CT), exclusively on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network (www.MondayNightMayhem.com, www.ITunes.com, www.AudioWrestling.com, www.Facebook.com/MondayNightMayhem, & www.MySpace.com/MondayNightMayhem< FONT face=Verdana>).
Bob’s return Mayhem appearance (as part of MNM’s “Fall Tour ’09”) is now available for free in Windows Streaming Media, or via The Mayhem’s official Podcast on ITunes:
Bob Zmuda/Monday Night Mayhem Interview (MNM Streaming Audio): http://www.mondaynightmayhemarchives.com/waxfiles/113009.wax
Bob Zmuda/Monday Night Mayhem Interview (MNM Podcast on ITunes): http://www.mondaynightmayhemarchives.com/nov09/113009.mp3
Here are some of the highlights of Bob’s exclusive interview, provided by The Mayhem’s correspondent, Paterson from New Jersey:
Crank up the R.E.M. wherever you are or wherever you may be Mayhem Nation! Bob was welcomed back to the airwaves of “Your Home Of Wrestling Radio” by The Mayhem Crew (Mosh, Blade, & Todd Vincent) for a look back at the life, career, & legacy of the one & only Andy Kaufman. Bob wished to credit Monday Night Mayhem, as they were the first ones to induct Andy into a wrestling Hall Of Fame (as part of the “Class Of 2004”). “It’s so amazing, because the connection between wrestling & comedy certainly this was what Andy Kaufman was all about.”
Andy’s comedy was well-known throughout the world, but many wrestling fans vividly remember his legendary feud with WWE Hall Of Famer, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and many say that helped was the first crossover of wrestling & Hollywood. “A lot of times I’m asked ‘How did this start with Andy & the wrestling? This goes back years ago, when was a little boy…He lived in New Jersey, and his grandma Pearl would take him to New York City. And instead of taking him to a Broadway show, she would take him to Madison Square Garden to watch the wrestlers. So to Andy, this was the theatrical experience in his life & everything in his career, people would go ‘is he crazy?’ & ‘What’s this all about?’ It all goes back to the squared circle when he was a boy.”
With WWE’s Monday Night RAW having Guest Hosts every week, Andy was the first of his kind to bring entertainment into the squared circle. With Vince McMahon coining the phase “sports entertainment,” Kaufman was indeed doing that long before World Wrestling Entertainment came to such global prominence. “Andy used to speak to Vince in the early days & tried to convince to get more involved in this (his feud with Lawler). I guess Vince was protective of what he was trying to build at the time, so it never really came together.”
Andy’s feud with “The King” went down as one the most-entertaining & media attention-getting feuds arguably of all-time, between the matches they had all the way to their appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman.” Bob explained how it all started. “Lawler had his promoter call Andy’s manager (George Shapiro), and asked him how Andy would feel wrestling a man: Jerry “The King” Lawler in Memphis. George of course said no, but he asked Andy, and when Andy heard that, forget the Academy Award, this was it…This is his dream. George called back, and he said Andy wants to do it. This is where it gets insane.” He went onto say how Andy would begin insulting the Southern p eople of Memphis & began to rile out the crowds down there, and the rest of the country took notice.
After insulting the good people of Memphis, Lawler did not take kindly to Kaufman, simply because he thought Kaufman was not taking it seriously & disrespecting the sport. “George calls the promoter & tells him ‘We’re not doing this…This is not what we thought.’ The promoter said that they were sold-out, and if Andy Kaufman doesn’t do this match, he has to write a check for $40,000. It was decided that if Andy could stay in the ring with Lawler for two minutes, that would be it. The night comes, and the only way we get from the dressing room to the ring was with a Memphis SWAT team of ten guys in full SWAT gear to take us down the aisle. It was the scariest situation I have ever been (a part of) in my life.”
Bob told the story of the match between the two combatants & how Andy was hurt after two piledrivers from Lawler, who double-crossed Kaufman & performed the moves on Andy. He has seen Jerry since the incident & Andy Kaufman’s death and actually talked to him about the incident. “I know the move, I did push it, and I knew Andy wasn’t going to get seriously hurt. But Andy kinda straightened his head at the end, which he shouldn’t have done, and he felt bad about it. But it was the greed of Jerry Lawler, I don’t think anyone would know who hell Jerry Lawler was if it wasn’t for that incident. Then we did ‘Man On The Moon,’ and we had to change it around, because he wanted to look like the good guy…so don’t believe any of the crap in that.”
A member of The Mayhem Nation from Cincinnati, OH asked that what kind of impact did Jerry “The King” Lawler have on Andy Kaufman’s worldwide perspective? Bob was forthright in his response, despite feeling some animosity towards Lawler after the piledriver incident. “Huge, the effect of Jerry Lawler stepping forward & taking this to a whole new level by getting into the Kaufman thing & vice-versa. Kaufman bringing that to ‘Saturday Night Live’ & David Letterman…areas whe re you would never see this stuff was definitely big”. Bob did add that things were not settled between him & Lawler. “One of these days you never know. I know one thing that Tony Clifton (the legendary lounge singer & whom many have classified for years as Andy’s “alter ego”) would like to settle the score with Jerry Lawler. And I mean a real match between Tony Clifton & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.”
More is covered in this exclusive & phenomenal interview with the best friend of the late Andy Kaufman, Bob Zmuda, including even more backstory about the Kaufman/Lawler feud, the early beginnings of Andy wrestling women (and being challenged by thousands from across the United States; the focal point of “Dear Andy Kaufman: I Hate Your Guts”), the psychology of Andy Kaufman’s comedy, & Bob’s plans for the 25th anniversary of “Comic Relief” in 2010. If you are in the Los Angeles area this Thursday (December 3rd), you can be a part of the special “Tribute To Andy Kaufman,” sponsored by Process Media at The Silent Theater. Both Bob & Lynn Marguiles (the book’s author & Andy’s former girlfriend) will be on hand to personally greet Andy’s legions of fans. For more details & information on how you can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event, log onto www.ProcessMediaInc.com.
Submit your thoughts & comments on Bob Zmuda’s MNM return by calling the official Mayhem Line (toll-free) at (877) 666-2110, by contacting the show via the MNM/Sizzlin’ Sauces inbox (MondayNightMayhem@hotmail.com), by interacting with The Mayhem Crew on Facebook (located at www.Facebook.com/MondayNightMayhem), as well as The Mayhem’s official MySpace page (located at www.MySpace.com/MondayNightMayhem & presented by TicketRelief.com).
Mayhem Nation: The 2010 Wrestling Radio Awards are just around the corner! Log onto http://www.WrestlingRadioAwards.com, and vote for Monday Night Mayhem in the categories listed. Help keep MNM atop the throne as “Show Of The Year,” and take home some of the most-prized hardware in the industry! “Your Home Of Wrestling Radio” is officially presented by ReelWrestling: the latest & hottest innovation from the coverage of professional wrestling online. Want to be a part of the RW movement? It’s simple…head on over to http://www.ReelWrestling.com, and subscribe (via e-mail or SMS) for free announcements on what’s hot & fresh on ReelWrestling.com. Your favorite Superstars & Divas are just one click away! The award-winning Monday Night Mayhem (voted on by you, the fans as the “Show Of The Year” in the 2009 Wrestling Radio Awards), is also sponsored by: Sizzlin’ Sauces (the official hot sauce of The Mayhem’s “Fall Tour ’09:” http://www.SizzlinSauces.com), The History Of WWE.com (bringing you the best in the illustrious history of our business since 2002: http://www.TheHistoryOfWWE.com), TicketRelief.com (the official online traffic school of The Mayhem: http://www.TicketRelief.com), & ACN (get info about the ACN home-based business opportunity, video phone, & network marketing by contacting Shawn Allen at http://www.ssallen.acnrep.com).
All new & old members of The Mayhem Nation can check out the official Monday Night Mayhem Audio Vault, which contains the finest programming/audio content from over five+ years of Mayhem goodness. You can re-live interviews with some of your favorite WWE superstars (CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, & “The Glamazon” Beth Phoenix), WWE Hall Of Famers (Bret “Hitman” Hart, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jim Ross, & Jesse “The Body” Ventura), your favorite stars of TNA Wrestling (TNA President Dixie Carter, “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan, “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash, TNA World Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan, “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe, Daniels, Team 3-D, Beer Money Inc., “The Monster” Abyss, The World Elite’s Eric Young/Homicide, The Beautiful People’s Velvet Sky, Taylor Wilde, & Christy Hemme), Ring Of Honor’s warriors (ROH World Champion Austin Aries, Tyler Black, & Claudio Castangoli), plus some of the biggest names in the worlds of sports, entertainment, & Hollywood (Dennis Rodman, Ice-T, Brooke Hogan, Nancy O’Dell, Michael Buffer, Curtis Granderson, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, & many more). All this is now available World Wide & 365 at www.MondayNightMayhem.com.