Sunday, November 16, 2008


Such sentiment, as well as the dark nature of Abel’s hoax, invites comparison to America’s other famous comedic deceptionist, the late Andy Kaufman. Kaufman’s most famous bits involved blurring the lines between life and performance, similar to the dedication that Abel demonstrates when staying in character for several years at a time in order to perpetuate whatever scam he’s running. When asked about Kaufman, Abel fondly reminisces about the friendship the two shared in the early 1980s: “We used to walk down Broadway, and he’d stop and talk to everybody and anybody.”

Abel reports that the two made their initial connection after Kaufman was “so enamored over the appearance of the obituary in the New York Times that [Kaufman] queried me for hours about every detail of how I pulled it off.” However, Abel concedes that Kaufman may end up with the upper hand, saying he’s “leaving the door open just a little bit that he might still be hiding out there somewhere,” speculating on the persistent rumors that Kaufman may have faked his death in 1984.

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