The AGT judges got a kick out of Andy Rowell’s silly karaoke act on this week’s show. All four voted “yes” to send him to the next round, but many fans are against the decision. Did Andy steal a famous comedy bit or was he paying tribute to a comedy legend?
Fans are saying Andy’s bit ripped off another, more famous Andy — the late comedian Andy Kaufman. Several viewers tweeted about the similarity, and wondered why none of the judges seemed to notice.
Andy Rowell’s “Tequila” Act
Andy’s karaoke act involved him singing along to “Tequila” by the Champs. During the instrumental parts (aka most of the song), he stood there awkwardly, only to chime in every so often to halfheartedly declare “Tequila!” According to Billboard, the bit originally went viral on Instagram, thanks to a video of Andy doing it at a bar.
The act even had Simon Cowell laughing. “It was so stupid, I loved it,” he said. Julianne Hough, meanwhile, called it “brilliant.” As Howie Mandel said, “I want to see more.”
Andy Kaufman’s “Mighty Mouse” Bit
When playing his character Foreign Man, comedian Andy Kaufman performed a bit in which he would play the theme song to “Mighty Mouse” and only lip sync along to one line (“Here I come to save the day”), while standing awkwardly for the rest of the song.
Kaufman even performed the bit on Saturday Night Live, and actor Jim Carrey recreated it in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon. Check out a comparison video above.
What AGT Fans Are Saying
The similarities between the two bits may have slipped past some viewers, but others took to Twitter to express their disappointment. One fan simply replied to Julianne Hough’s tweet with a GIF of Kaufman performing the bit. Another wrote, “I weep for the future.”
Some fans were especially shocked that even judge Howie Mandel didn’t seem to notice the similarity with Kaufman’s bit. He’s a comedian, after all, and is certainly old enough to be familiar with the legendary comic. In fact, he said in a 2010 interview that he embraced “silly” acts which are similar to “a Tiny Tim, or an Andy Kaufman, or a Professor Irwin Corey.”
What Do You Think?
The question then becomes, given that his act was so similar to a legendary performance by Kaufman, whether he was really “stealing”. Perhaps his intention was more to pay homage to the late comedian’s most famous bit. That certainly would put a different spin on the whole thing. Of course, that begs the question of what Andy Rowell will do next. Will it be another Andy Kaufman bit? Will he wrestle women? Speak with a foreign accent? Do an Elvis impersonation? Those were also famous Andy Kaufman bits.
So what do you think? Did Andy Rowell really rip off Andy Kaufman with his act? Is it okay for comedians to put their own twist on a famous bit? Should the judges have voted him through to the next round? Let us know in the comments.