ARCHIVE LIBRARY

SHORT TAKES II

by Jerry Honigman

Turns Out, Andy Kaufman Was Strange

So, it was 1978, and my band, The Romeos formed around a batch of demos I recorded in Alexandria, Louisiana. I took the tapes back to Los Angeles, and my friend, Steve Jones, signed us to a management/production contract and moved the other guys, Dan Diefenderfer, Bootsie Normand, and Michael Lacroix, out to L.A. to join Dony Wynn and I, who already lived there.

He set the five of us up in a three-bedroom apartment in North Hollywood at a complex called Corteen Place. Hilarity ensued.

Dief had a friend named Diane (aka “the mink”) over one night, and we were hanging out and watching an episode of “Taxi” on T.V. As the character Latke entered the scene, Diane remarked, “Oh Andy. He’s so weird.” We all agreed, not knowing that she meant something a little more real than what we took it to mean. She continued, “But he’s easy to work with.” She now had our attention. “He’s my busboy.”

You see, Diane worked as a waitress at “Jerry’s Famous Deli” on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. It seems that Andy was, in fact, her busboy on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the deli. She told us, “He’s working tomorrow night, you guys should come eat. But don’t bug him or be weird to him. Just be cool and act like you’re simply there for a meal, and he’s just a regular busboy.”

Well, we jumped all over that, and the next night we showed up for dinner. We sat at a table and out comes Andy Kaufman with our place settings, pouring our waters, and refilling our glasses when necessary. And so it continued throughout our meal.

“Hey, Andy, I dropped my napkin. Can I get another please?” “Yes sir, right away.” “Are you finished with your plate, sir?” “Yes, Andy, thanks.” “Certainly, sir. I’ll clear your table.” And so on.

Oddball odd.

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Chores

As I mentioned, the five of us shared an apartment, and though there were many riotous adventures had and ribald tales to be told, it was the simple things that stayed with me.

One day I came home to what I had thought was an empty place, only to find Lacroix in the hallway. Michael kept all his clothes in an army-green duffel bag, and was bent over unzipping his bag and sort of separating all the contents inside. Then he emptied most of a container of “Shower to Shower Body Powder” into the bag and zipped it back up. Grabbing the duffel by the handles, he lifted it up and shook it vigorously.

“Michael!” I said, “What the hell are you doing?”

Having not heard me come in, he turned, slightly startled, and with a sheepish grin, replied, “Laundry.”

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Fame

Before the expression “famous for being famous” entered our lexicon, before there were “internet influencers” or TikTok stars, even before the Kardashians – there was Angelyne. Her image was already becoming ubiquitous around Los Angeles via posters and fliers, displaying her bottled blonde, sex-bomb image, and she would soon be featured on huge billboards around town and, especially, on the Sunset Strip.

Our band would leave the apartment every day to go to our rented rehearsal space in North Hollywood and work all day on our music. It was a kind of duplex situation with a common area in the back forming the bottom of the “U” layout of the two sides. The other side was rented by a guy named Jordan Michaels. He said he was Angelyne’s manager and boyfriend, and she sang in his band, Baby Blue. They got a little local airplay on a couple of singles they released featuring her photo and her “assets.”

One day, a couple of us were in the common area where the bathroom and kitchen area were located, and also where Jordan kept a mattress and some clothes for when he sometimes stayed there. We couldn’t help but notice a little stack of Polaroids on a night stand featuring a naked Angelyne and what appeared to be a pair of volleyballs protruding from her chestal area. Horribly phony in their aspect and not particularly our cup of meat, we were happy to move on with our business and try to, unsuccessfully, banish what we’d seen from our minds.

This became more and more difficult to do considering her burgeoning infamy. The billboards increased, as did her cleavage, and she could be glimpsed around Hollywood tooling the boulevards in her hot-pink Corvette convertible, ala Barbie. Over the decades, her legend grew. A five-part miniseries starring Emmy Rossum as Angelyne was released last year and continues to stream on Peacock. For some reason, Jordan’s name was changed to Cory Hunt for the movie, but that’s showbiz.

And unlike everyone else in the general public, the by now millions of people who have received only overt hints and teases of sexual provocation which Angelyne has offered over the years as her claim to fame, I actually SAW the volleyballs.

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