America's Got Talent comedian recycles Andy Kaufman's classic skit
A comedian who appeared on America's Got Talent seems to have come up with an original skit, but it has been pointed out that he copied it from another comedian.
Andy Rowell, a participant on the talent show, walked on stage and stated to the judges that he would do "some karaoke singing for you". He then played the song, "Tequila" by The Champs, a song that has no lyrics except for the title which is spoken three times. Rowell proceeded say out Tequila at the right time while looking nervous through the performance. A screen next to him showed a countdown to the next "Tequila" lyric.
All four of the judges gave Rowell a "Yes", meaning he got through to the next stage of the competition. One of the judges even called Rowell's performance "brilliant". Even Simon Cowell, known for being a harsh critic on the show, gave Rowell his approval.
Rowell's performance is similar to a classic skit by Andy Kaufman, when he appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1975. Kaufman walked on stage, put the needle on a record player, which played the Mighty Mouse theme song. But he'd keep quiet through the song, only lip-syncing to the chorus: "Here I come to save the day". Kaufman looked nervous throughout, only showing confidence when lip-syncing. His performance also included false starts and taking a drink as if his throat was parched from singing, while preparing to lip-sync his part.
The similarities in both skits lie in playing with audience expectations. Performers walk on stage with the expectation of giving a good show, but Kaufman upended that by not putting on a conventional performance.
The comedian Andy Kaufman, however, cannot sue Rowell or call him out on social media to defend his intellectual property. Kaufman died in 1984, although some people believed it was a hoax, as his whole career, which included acts such as earnestly reading out the Great Gatsby on stage and breaking character during a skit, revolved around subverting expectations.