By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
Like, how could anyone pigeonhole anything to do with Andy, let alone make an award out of it?
There might be something to that. But we are a safe haven for alternative comedians. The Andy Kaufman Award is also known as the Alternative Komedian Award. So it's AKA AKA AKA, pronounced, "Akakaka?" Andy put the "K" in comedy. People love participating in this award. We don't charge a fee to enter, but we do pay the winner. When people don't make it to the semifinals, they get the most beautiful letter from us, the most encouraging letter from us. Nick Vatterott, who was the winner in 2011, was previously rejected twice; he didn't even get to be a semifinalist. And when he made semifinals the first time, I don't believe he won. The awards are designed] to encourage people to keep on trying.
I don't know if you know, but Andy had a reputation for bombing, and he still stuck with it. We used to tell comedians for years about Andy's tunnel analogy, but then we put that analogy on the awards' program so that everyone could read it. It tells you: You're in a dark tunnel. You go on-stage every night, and every night you're onstage, you're making progress in the tunnel. You're getting closer, and closer to the end of the tunnel, even if it seems like you're not, like you had a bad night. Keep going, and you'll get closer to the end of the tunnel.
You know some of the previous winners here, like Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts? The first time Kristen Schaal was a semifinalist in 2004, I went up to her and said, "Andy would love you." I just knew from the first time I saw her perform at the Skirball Center. She was a comic version of Andy, but even more likable.
At this year's awards ceremony, we played a recording of my father speaking to the audience at the 2009 Awards. And he spoke about Kristen Schaal as if she were a daughter to him. And that's the other thing about the Andy Kaufman Awards: Reggie Watts came up with the term "The Andy Kaufman Awards Family." If you get into the semifinals, you're part of The Andy Kaufman Awards Family. My father was so proud of this award. It started for selfish reasons, for Andy's legacy? But it's turned into something so much bigger. I'm there for the comedians more so than being there for Andy. I can see it in their faces, I can see that they're so grateful to me that this award exists.
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