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  My Breakfast with Blassie Thankyou Very Much
Year: 1983
Director: Linda Lautrec, Johnny Legend, Mark Shepard
Stars: Andy Kaufman, Fred Blassie, Laurie Burton, Linda Hirsch, Linda Lautrec, Lynne Margulies, Bob Zmuda, Edith Massey
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It was soon after Andy Kaufman had sustained an injury on the David Letterman Show on live television that necessitated him using a neck brace that a meeting was set up between him and the self-proclaimed "King of Men", champion wrestler Fred Blassie. They agreed to meet for breakfast at the Sambo's restaurant in Los Angeles, and Andy took public transport to reach it, pleased that he could get anywhere in the city for fifty cents, but when he arrived to see Blassie wasn't there, he began to have second thoughts and was about to walk out when the man himself strolled through the door...

Just like there are sometimes "answer songs" where a song is made in reaction to a hit, My Breakfast with Blassie was an "answer film" to the highbrow talkfest My Dinner with Andre, which was essentially a feature with two men having a conversation over dinner for two hours. That film had so irritated directors Linda Lautrec and Johnny Legend that they had an idea to make a spoof to show up what a waste of time they considered it to be, and Legend hit on the idea of casting the controversial Blassie as one of the conversers.

Legend had written the star a song based around his catchphrase "Pencil-Necked Geek", the insult Blassie threw at anyone he disapproved of, so he was on board, but who could they get for the Wallace Shawn role of the other diner? Step forward Andy Kaufman, who had also been driven up the wall by Andre, and you can see why this set up, where the viewer is unsure about how seriously to approach it, would appeal to him. Not least because it was concerned with wrestling, Andy's current passion as he was becoming deliberately unpopular through his matches with women, all of which he was proud to say he won.

As it turned out, the two men didn't get much of a chance to swap wrestling war stories, as the directors had arranged distractions for them to spice things up a bit. So while it has the look of a documentary, apparently filmed in real time (although sharp-eyed viewers will be able to spot the edits), there were elements pre-planned. Kaufman was still keen on making his persona as obnoxious as possible, a curious form of self-derision that only he truly knew the sincerity of, so while he can seem like a nice guy here, a little in awe of Blassie in fact, the girls at the next table provide his chance to act the insufferable celebrity.

This means after the food is ordered and brought by an uncredited waitress (who happens to be pregnant, which does not escape Blassie's notice), the unfolding "drama" involves the diners comparing tales of their fans and how they hate shaking hands because they can't be sure how clean or otherwise the public are, and being interrupted by people looking for their autographs and suchlike. As far as I know this is supposed to be a comedy, and there are a few chuckles along the way but it's no riproaring kneeslapper; mostly it's simply fascinating to see these men interact, especially the enigma that was Kaufman. He is putting on an act, but this is only clear occasionally when the gears are showing: chatting up one woman by boasting he's the star of Taxi, or being accosted by his creative partner Bob Zmuda posing as a fan pulling things out of his nose and worse. It's barely an hour long, but every bit the equal of its source, and maybe even better for entertainment value. Music by Linda Mitchell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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