WWE has announced the third person who will be inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame on Fri., Mar. 31 — late comedy genius Andy Kaufman.
Kaufman’s is a fitting name for a 2023 group that will be honored near Hollywood, and the scoop fittingly went to entertainment industry “dirt sheet” Variety. WWE confirmed the news on social media.
BREAKING: @ndykaufman will be inducted into the #WWEHOF Class of 2023, as first reported by @Variety! pic.twitter.com/8emfaH5dhm— WWE (@WWE) March 20, 2023
Most famous for his role as Latka on the sitcom Taxi from 1978-1983, in addition to acting Kaufman was also an accomplished stand-up & sketch comedian — and a pro wrestling fan. He saw wrestling as the perfect medium for his brand of line-blurring comedy chaos, and along with Jerry “The King” Lawler created an angle that had people all over the world questioning what was real and what was fake in thestory they told from Late Night with David Letterman to Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association during the early 1980s.
The program started with Kaufman declaring himself the Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World in his comedy act. The actor offered a cash prize to any woman who could pin him, which outraged The King and led to several altercations — including one that ended with Lawler’s famous piledriver, and that Kaufman sold by wearing a neck brace at all his appearances. In reality, the two were close friends, but you couldn’t tell it when they were in character.
Their trailblazing work brought on the kind of celebrity angles we’re still seeing today with people like Bad Bunny, Action Bronson, Logan Paul & Rick Ross. But partly because it was among the first, and definitely because of Kaufman’s full commitment to the bit, it’s never been matched.
Andy died of lung cancer in 1984 (despite never having been a smoker) not long after his famous “rasslin” run. His life was immortalized in the 1999 Jim Carrey film, Man on the Moon. Lawler and Letterman played themselves in the movie.
The King is the obvious pick to induct his late friend, but a recent stroke may make that impossible. We’ll wait to see on that, and who else will be honored along with Kaufman, Rey Mysterio & The Great Muta at the ceremony taking place at 10:30pm ET in LA’s Crypto.Com Arena, and streaming on Peacock.