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Tony Clifton

Tony Clifton is a fictional character created by comedian Andy Kaufman in the early 1980s.

Clifton appeared to many as simply an abusive lounge singer that sometimes opened for the comedian. But in reality, there was more to it than that. In many cases, the singer was Andy Kaufman. Promoters who thought they had caught on to the joke started to hire Clifton to perform a show in their town because he was cheaper than booking Kaufman. But Kaufman had the last laugh: most of the time that this happened, it wasn't Kaufman performing as Clifton at all. It would be Kaufman's brother Michael or his good friend, Bob Zmuda.

Clifton (possibly played by Zmuda) appeared once on Late Night with David Letterman, where he was interviewed and sang a medley with the band. Clifton was hired to appear on an early episode of ABC's Taxi sitcom, but ended up being escorted out of the building by security guards when he threw a fit on stage.