My Breakfast With Blassie / I'm From Hollywood

As the old expression goes, "comedy is dangerous." Andy Kaufman's comedy was so dangerous that it not only tested boundaries but also ruined his career in the process. This collection of two low-budget Kaufman films, My Breakfast with Blassie and I'm From Hollywood, showcases Kaufman at his most challenging, deconstructing and demolishing the lovable comic persona he built on Taxi and Saturday Night Live in the name of performance art. My Breakfast with Blassie, a Dadaist goof on My Dinner With Andre, sees self-proclaimed "world famous TV star" Kaufman meeting surly wrestling personality Fred Blassie at a skeezy L.A. diner for breakfast. The two engage in mindless chatter until catching the attention of other patrons, who they quickly alienate with their monstrous egos. As an attack on My Dinner With Andre, it's an insubstantial spit ball of cruddy photography and anti-intellectualism, but as a record of Kaufman's astonishing eagerness to look like an ass in the name of comedy, and as a venue for his unique take on his celebrity, it's mildly diverting. More interesting is I'm From Hollywood, a one-hour documentary about Kaufman's tongue-in-cheek career wrestling women, which soon evolved into a long-running feud with Memphis wrestler Jerry Lawler. We see Kaufman appearing on TV to teach Southerners basic grooming habits ("This is toilet paper…"), appearing foolish in various matches and generally relishing his role as an obnoxious narcissist. Although Lawler eventually admitted the feud was a joke, you might not be able to tell from this film, which shows Kaufman so committed to the gag it's almost frightening. "I believe that if you're going to play an evil wrestler, you should go all-out," says Kaufman early in the documentary, perhaps the most revealing statement he ever gave regarding his style of comedy. That the wrestling scam eventually destroyed his career was perhaps the greatest joke of all. Extras include deleted scenes and premiere footage from Blassie, as well as a Q&A session with Jerry Lawler and commentary by Kaufman's girlfriend Lynne Margulies on I'm From Hollywood. Even they can't seem to make heads or tails of Kaufman. This two-disc set will be of interest mostly to die-hard Kaufman fans but then again, is there any other kind? (VSC)