Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

Andy Kaufman on Record

Categories: Comedians
Posted: July 18, 2013

Anyone who has seen my show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, or read this blog knows that Andy Kaufman is one of my comic heroes. Hey, I’ve even vied for the Andy Kaufman Award a couple of times. Kaufman, in my mind, was a comedy genius and brilliant performance artist who has people still in awe of his work nearly 30 years after his untimely, and sometime debatable passing.
Andy and His Grandmother
The latest Andy Kaufman news is that Andy and His Grandmother, his first and only comedy album, has just been released. Culled from over 80 hours of recordings he completed from 1977-1979, the album features conversations with colleagues and lovers as well as his insane bits. Time Out New York, in its rave reviews, says “for acolytes, every moment, especially the final conversation about those who “won’t believe [Andy’s] death,” will feel like manna (from wherever comics go when they die).” The Boston Globe chimed in with “Long live Andy Kaufman.”
What a treasure to have a new Andy Kaufman release 29 years after he succumbed to lung cancer. Thanks to Vernon Chatman for compiling this album.

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Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on David Letterman

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: September 24, 2012

When wrestler Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler had a heart attack on TV a couple weeks ago, I was reminded of his inflammatory appearance on David Letterman’s show while I worked there in the 1980s. Lawler, clearly confident in who he is, chose a nickname that was already taken in his hometown, Memphis, by one of the biggest stars the world over, Elvis Presley. Here’s a brilliant tribute to his talents and his work in the Memphis wrestling world. Yet, he’s carved out a national presence for himself, partially predicated on his tussles with the late comedian Andy Kaufman. Perhaps one of the greatest comedic performance art performances.
Kaufman made fun of low brow wrestling, and Lawler stood up to the challenge. After a wrestling match in which Lawler ‘piledrived’ Kaufman — essentially dropping him on his head — the duo met up on Late Night with David Letterman. Kaufman sported a neck brace, and threatened to sue Lawler for his injury. Well, things don’t go well. Lawler gets in a few jokes and the slap heard around the world. Here are is the video of the famous incidence. It is NSFW.

Here’s to a speedy recovery Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

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Ted Greenberg’s Top Five Taxi Entertainments

Categories: Taxi Cabs
Posted: December 6, 2011

As the writer/performer of the only Off-Broadway comedy show with a free cab ride home, I’m often asked my opinion about the portrayal of taxi drivers and taxis in movies and on television.  As a taxi cab driver, I, of course, have a strong opinion on the matter.


Here’s my list for my Top 5 Taxi Entertainments:


1) Taxi DriverMartin Scorsese’s 1976 dark film about a former Vietnam vet turned taxi driver (Robert De Niro in a groundbreaking role) inspired me to get my hack license in the 1980s.  From the moment I saw this classic film, I was in awe of how the film captured Gotham’s haunting allure, especially the night scenes.

 Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Ted Greenberg's Top Five Taxi Entertainments.

2) Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakdownPedro Almodovar’s zany 1988 film features one of the most outrageous taxis in the history of the world.  With a whimsical cab interior that’s equal parts Liberace and Lady Gaga, I’m not sure why anyone would ever get out of this vehicle. Last year, a musical stage adaptation of the film opened on Broadway. My childhood friend and David Letterman co-writer David Yazbek wrote the show’s music and lyrics and received a Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Score. And, the production’s taxi driver (Danny Burstein) was as hilarious and riveting as Guillermo Montesinos was in the film.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown taxi photo


3) Night on Earth – Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has great hair. Great white hair.  The Mascot and I are NOT jealous. Not jealous at all.  Mainly because he also makes really great films.  His 1991 effort Night on Earth follows five cab drivers in five cities – New York, Paris, Helsinki, Los Angeles and Rome.  While I wouldn’t mind having Beatrice Dalle as a passenger (she is fantastic as a blind Parisian), I’m a New Yorker at heart. Just like Jarmusch.
Photo from Night on Earth, 1991 film by Jim Jarmusch


4) Taxi – Having been nominated twice for the Andy Kaufman Award, how can I not love the iconic TV show that starred the comic genius alongside Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Danny De Vito, Tony Danza and the late Jeff Conway?

Taxi TV show starring Andy Kaufman


5) Friends – On the famous comedy TV show, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) was bequeathed a yellow cab by her grandmother.  The cab was featured in the show on occasion, including a visit to Phoebe’s mom in season 3.  Her mom was played by the inimitable Teri Garr, who turned in comic gold performances in Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom and Tootsie and was a regular guest on the David Letterman show while I was a writer there.  Here’s a video of Garr’s 1987 visit to Letterman:




What’s your favorite taxi featured in a film, TV show or play?

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