His Foreign Man character was the basis of his role as Latka Gravas on the hit television show Taxi, on which he appeared from 1978 until 1983.
During this time, he continued to tour comedy clubs and theaters in a series of unique performance art / comedy shows, sometimes appearing as himself and sometimes as obnoxiously rude lounge singer Tony Clifton.
Kaufman first caught major attention with a character known as Foreign Man, who spoke in a meek, high-pitched, heavy-accented voice and claimed to be from "Caspiar", a fictional island in the Caspian Sea.
As Foreign Man, Kaufman would appear on the stage of comedy clubs, play a recording of the theme from the Mighty Mouse cartoon show while standing perfectly still, and lip-sync only the line "Here I come to save the day" with great enthusiasm.
"I'm not trying to be funny," he once said in a rare introspective interview.
Like Presley, he would take off his leather jacket during the song and throw it into the audience, but unlike Presley, Foreign Man would immediately ask for it to be returned., the 19-year-old confirmed her relationship with Brooklyn Beckham, the 17-year-old son of the soccer superstar and former Spice Girl.He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, referring to himself instead as a "song-and-dance man".After the song's finale, he would take a simple bow and say in his Foreign Man voice, "T'ank you veddy much." Portions of Kaufman's Foreign Man act were broadcast in the first season of Saturday Night Live.
In 1982, Kaufman brought his professional wrestling villain act to Letterman's show with a staged encounter with Jerry "The King" Lawler of the Continental Wrestling Association (although the fact that the altercation was planned in advance was not publicly disclosed for over a decade). Kaufman was born on January 17, 1949 in New York City, the oldest of three children.
His mother was Janice (née Bernstein), a homemaker and former fashion model, and his father was Stanley Kaufman, a jewelry salesman.