Splitsider

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Andy Kaufman Once Tried His "Foreign Man" Character at an Ice Cream Shop and Upset a Lot of People

"Andy and I and a few others went to Brigham's ice cream parlor in Harvard Square. At the counter, Andy became Foreign Man … who seemed stunned by the array of flavors. In halting, bumbling, nasal English, Andy shyly asked to taste one. He took his time, savored the ice cream, started to order, then stopped mid-sentence and pondered. He asked to taste another flavor, worked it over, hesitated, asked a question or two … and got wide-eyed over yet another flavor … The line behind him was long and the patrons were getting restless … Just when I thought he was about to get clobbered, Foreign Man made up his mind. He ordered vanilla. 'Tenk you veddy much,' he said, and smiled innocently at the waiting patrons as we exited the store."

-Andy Kaufman's old friend, Philip Goldberg, reminiscing about Kaufman's life on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his death in  that details Kaufman workshopping his "Foreign Man" character out in public in the early '70s.