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Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind Of Andy Kaufman Paperback – 4 Oct 2010


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Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind Of Andy Kaufman + Man on the Moon [DVD] [1999]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (4 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841152307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841152301
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Bill Zehme's biography of comic actor/performance artist Andy Kaufman (subject of the feature film Man in the Moon) is a meticulously researched, eminently readable and very strange book--this last being perhaps no surprise given its subject. Written over a six-year period, Lost in the Funhouse is crammed with details gleaned from interviews with the actor's family, friends, teachers, co-workers and unwitting participants in Kaufman's pranks. In particular, the book provides great insight into Kaufman's early life in Great Neck, New York; his relationship with transcendental meditation and his first forays into night clubs in the early 70s. Zehme, author of The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin', weaves together multiple narratives from varying perspectives, including passages in which the author appears to have entered his subject's brain. Zehme did have access to unpublished letters and manuscripts (which fans would certainly like to see published on their own one day) but the only person who could legitimately verify the accuracy of these passages is no longer with us.

At its best, the book approaches that apex of artful celebrity bi-fiction, Nick Tosches's Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams.The transitions from one perspective to the next are a bit jarring at first but once the reader gives in to Zehmes's collage of multiple personalities, one is considerably closer to understanding the book's subject. Kaufman was nothing if not a collector of various intense personalities: the young boy continually mourning his grandfather's death; the likeable and naive Foreign Man; the talentless and irascible lounge singer Tony Clifton; the bliss-seeking student of transcendental meditation; the devoted and loving son who never had anything to do with his own child; and world champion of inter-gender wrestling. Lost in the Funhouse is the one Kaufman tome that will please neophytes as well as those with their own Andy Kaufman Web sites. --Mike McGonigal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'An excellent, tragicomic biography of a comedian's comedian.' Patrick Skene Catling, Spectator -- Patrick Skene Catling, Spectator

'Confused? Then you'd better read this zinger of a biography.' -- Brian Boyd, Irish Times

'Confused? Then you'd better read this zinger of a biography.' Brian Boyd, Irish TImes -- Brian Boyd, Irish Times

'Excellent.' -- Esquire

'Excellent.' Esquire -- Esquire

'The closest thing we are ever likely to get to a definitive account of Andy Kaufman's life ... if you want the facts, this is the only book you need.' -- Peter Keepnews, New York Times

'This is a beautiful book ... I believe that I could write a better biography than Bill Zehme, and be a better comedian than Andy. And if you believe me, maybe you're not in on this review.' -- Phil Kay, Herald

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb 2000
Format: Paperback
To read this book you don't have to know who Andy Kaufman is but by the time you have finished reading it you feel as if you were there watching him through out his career and you want to know more. The book provides a detailed and sensitive insight into the life of Andy Kaufman and the role his experiences played in his many characters and performances. It provokes many emotions from the reader laughter, amazement, disbelief and sadness. The book poses the question "What is funny?" and by the end of the book it seems clear that Andy Kaufman was a comic genius who was miles ahead of his time...maybe even ours too. READ THIS BOOK!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 April 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gives a view in to the mind of Kaufman. It shows you the real Kaufman rather than just the performer that is shown in "man on the moon" This gives you the story from birth and how he grew into the business. It is a great read that will have you captivated and desperate to find more about the crazy world of Kaufman
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By disco_daveuk on 19 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Like many more before, I must admit I discovered the genius of Andy Kaufman through 'Man On The Moon', though i wish it had been far sooner.
Lost In The Funhouse is a great example of good biography writing, it doesn't gross out by revealing things you probably would rather not know about someone you admire, but then it also refuses to gloss over the negative to the extent that so many do.
At times written in the style of Kaufman himself, this is a detailed a suprisingly personal account of the life of comic genius. Well worth a look.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mackey on 28 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
The weird thing is,Andy Kaufman lived and died before his media time.This book just seems to clarify that he was a man before his time.A performer? Well,unquestionably.A little mad? Well,let's hope.But it's clear from reading this book,that he embraced the show that
was his life.Was it always a prime time spectacle? Did it slip into docu-drama? Was it like a mirror of to-days car crash reality T.V.?
This book goes a way to explaining what goes on when a man has too much talent to only fill 15 minutes.I enjoyed this book.Enough to never read anything else about him.Just look at any episode of TAXI to see that Andy Kaufman never felt comfortable being Andy Kaufman.He was the foriegn man,or the guy who wrestled woman for jeers,or the guy who'd fake his own death.Just for a giggle.And as long as he got the joke,well then that was enough for him.The world seems a little less funny now that he isn't here........
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