Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tossed cigarettes and bad Sinatra —then 'Clifton' gets weird --

I don't think I've ever left a show I was reviewing. But somewhere around 2 a.m. Friday morning, it dawned on me that the whole point of this show was to keep performing until everybody had left and the performers had all collapsed. Anyway, four hours of Tony "Goldfinger" Clifton was enough. By then, there were only a couple dozen of us left.

Clifton, you might recall, was a creation of the late comedian Andy Kaufman. He's a parody of the faded and wholly untalented Vegas sleazeball—a girl-groping lounge lizard with a Dean Martin repertoire, a faux-Sinatra repartee and the dirtiest jokes imaginable. He is now played by former Kaufman sidekick Bob Zmuda. Zmuda does not admit this in public.

Zmuda is, in fact, a gifted improviser, albeit a terrifying one without any semblance of aesthetic boundary. It isn't so much the profane material here that gets under your skin—although it does, it does. It's Zmuda's total assumption of character—it feels even an invasion of armed buffalo wouldn't snap him back to reality. God help him and those who play with him.

2:12 AM