Interview: Tony Clifton

By ROB TURBOVSKY  |  October 19, 2010

I once saw you sing "Man on the Moon," R.E.M.'s song about Andy Kaufman, and you started to tear up a little bit. What were you feeling?
I get a little drink in me, and I get sentimental. I apologize. I'll tell you why "Man on the Moon" gets to me. When Kaufman died, he owed me a lot of money. When I hear that song, I think about how much fucking money that guy owes me, and I start crying.

Have you tried to track down Bob Zmuda to get that money?
It wouldn't be that Kazooda guy. It would be the Kaufman estate. And, they're a bunch of Jews, I ain't gonna squeeze anything out of a Jew. Unless I had maybe a good Jew lawyer, but that'd cost me money too.

Do you think there's any way to prove definitively to people that Andy Kaufman is really dead?
Well, this is good. This is interesting. We're going to be in San Francisco right around Halloween. And, I'm running this very rarely seen footage of the excavation of Andy Kaufman's grave. Maybe I'll show it in Boston, too. I will not comment if I think it's real or not. Someone sent it to me. I know that it is the family plot. They dig it up. They open up the casket. And, you'll see what's inside.

Do you see yourself touring as long as you can?
Absolutely. I'm going to die on stage. When I'm not fucking doing that, I'm in a bar drinking.

You'd never retire?
No. Who can afford it? This is my new thing now. We're going broke because of Social Security. You can't have people on the dole living that long. I say what to do to bring this economy together is you go bring your parents out to a fine, expensive Italian eatery. Get yourself three or four bottles of really good, fine, heavy Chianti. Get them loaded. Go home, put them to sleep, about three in the morning, tip toe into their room, give them a gentle kiss on the forehead, and then you take their pillow, you put it over their mouth. Now, there will be a little kick, a little struggle, but not as much as you'd think — because of that Chianti, they're pretty gone. After about 45 seconds or a minute, boom, they're done. If every fucking kid did that to their baby boomer parents, I'm telling you, we would not have this fucking growing deficit. It's a small price to pay for the youth of America.

On this tour, you're giving away hookers to audience members?
You were there the night at the Comedy Store that we shaved a girl's pussy? She was from Dennis Hof's Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada. That's where we shot the commercial for my product, the Tony Clifton Young Shaver, where I was shaving the sweet young pussies. Dennis Hof and I started talking, I told him I was going out on tour and wanted to do something special.

It's a free raffle. Everyone will get a ticket when they come to the show at the Wilbur. The person whose number is pulled gets a paid hooker of their choice at the Bunny Ranch, and they get to stay overnight there too. People really need to see this show. It is a fucking life-changing experience. Even without being on acid.

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  Topics: Comedy , R.E.M., Andy Kaufman, Tony Clifton,  More more >
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