Hot on the heels of announcing mewithoutYou’s Farewell Tour, the post-hardcore outfit’s eccentric frontman has revealed that he is, in fact, comedian Andy Kaufman. The announcement is sure to confirm a few conspiracy theories about the performance artist, namely that his 1984 death was an elaborate prank.
“Honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken people so long to figure out,” said Kaufman, sitting down to an elegant meal. “I thought the whole yelling and flailing in winter coats and throwing flowers everywhere would be absurd enough that people would catch on. When that didn’t work, I thought for sure eating out of dumpsters and driving a bus that runs on vegetable oil would tip them off.”
This sort of long-ranging performance art isn’t new to Kaufman. His comedy style (or rather anti-comedy as he called it) relied greatly on alter egos, such as Tony Clifton, who was seen performing in a comedy club after Kaufman’s alleged death. He has also performed as a singer and professional wrestler.
But performing as the frontman of an influential punk band for over twenty years—and even as the drummer of The Operation before that—is far and away the most elaborate gag Kaufman ever pulled. Eventually, the charade was so complicated that he couldn’t keep up.
“It just became exhausting,” he said, finally checking his iPhone in public. “In the early days, it was easy: just yell about some girl breaking my heart and throw in some Bible verses here and there. But the longer it dragged on, the more work it took. I studied Sufi Muslim poetry to write that stupid folk album—God, I thought that would be where everyone realized—but people just ate it up!”
This isn’t Kaufman’s first attempt to quit the character though: “I tried to quit after Ten Stories—you have no idea what that album took out of me. So I thought of the most absurd reason this Aaron character would quit the band, and I went off to get my doctorate. I spent years studying Muslim private schools in America—I didn’t even know they actually existed when I started! And to set the record straight: Aaron may be a character, but that PhD is a hundred percent real. That’s mine. I earned that.”
The revelation is sending shock waves through the community of mewithoutYou fans, but no one is more surprised than Michael Weiss, mewithoutYou’s guitarist and Aaron’s younger brother. When reached for comment, Michael Weiss stared blankly into the distance muttering, “but…we were kids together…”
Performance art or not, go see their farewell tour.