In what other competition but the Andy Kaufman Awards will you find a juggler competing against a ventriloquist, a street performer, two actors in character and two stand-up comedians?
No, not America’s Got Talent. At the Andy Kaufman Awards finals, these Americans really do have talent. There is no Gong Show element thrown into the mix, just for the trainwreck factor to lure you in. If there were, would you even know what was happening? Such was the mystique of Kaufman.
Last night, juggler Marcus Monroe edged out stand-up comedian Joe Machi and five other performers to win the eighth annual Andy Kaufman Award. Monroe received his trophy personally by Kaufman’s brother and sister, Michael and Carol Kaufman, at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. Tony Danza, who co-starred with the late Andy Kaufman in Taxi, offered a sincere tribute beforehand.
The other finalists were Keisha Zollar, Alex Feldman, Amir Gollan, Jenn Dodd, and Carla Rhodes.
Keisha Zollar performed as African comedian “Nia Mumbatu.” Feldman used what he calls “primal talk” (you may call it gibberish) interspersed with sight gags and a bit in which he played multiple recorders at the same time. Amir Gollan, an original writer from Late Night with Conan O’Brien, offered a series of well-written jokes. Jenn Dodd presented herself, meanwhile, as Erica Cane in preparations for “Cane’s” one-woman show. Carla Rhodes brought her trusty dummy from the 1930s, Cecil Sinclair, for her ventriloquist act. And Machi drove home his stand-up comedy with his own personal slant and voice.
Marcus Monroe won, and he goes by the moniker of “rock star of jugglers.” What does that mean, exactly? Highlight reel. Cue it. Click it. Commit it to memory.
Marcus Monroe performed this summer at Bonnaroo, and here he is coming onstage pretending to be Reggie Watts, before Watts himself takes the stage. Roll it.
Monroe also has appeared in a festival alongside Neil Patrick Harris. No, really. He did. They did. There’s video of that, too.
Congrats to Marcus Monroe and all of the other finalists for keeping comedy weird.