“The Top” (1984) with Andy Kaufman, Dan Aykroyd, Rodney Dangerfield, etc.

If this seems like a really bad attempt at avant-garde humor/entertainment, you’d be correct. Why am I posting it here? Because it’s an extremely rare debacle that involved a lot of famous people doing a favor for someone named David Jove. Jove was the producer of the infamous (and truly great) early 1980s hardcore punk cable TV show “New Wave Theater.” When that show’s host Peter Ivers was murdered in 1983, some of Ivers’ friends tried to help Jove get a new show started.

“The Top” is similar to “New Wave Theater” in tone, but with a lot more money thrown at it and a lot less balls and heart. Originally Chevy Chase was hired to host, but when he got stuck in the middle of a spontaneous slam-dancing session which he had no knowledge of, he fled the studio and the producers hired Andy Kaufman instead. This was Kaufman’s last live appearance and sadly, it’s not particularly good. Still, it’s a good example of what sometimes happens when the avant-garde tries to go mainstream.

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