During the final episode of “Legends with JBL” Jimmy Hart was interviewed at length about his legendary career. During the interview, he covered Andy Kaufman’s time in Memphis with the Intergender Wrestling Champion gimmick he was performing.
Kaufman had so much heat because he cut scathing promos insulting the fans’ hygiene and intelligence in a brilliant way. He called a female volunteer in the ring and pinned her down, rubbed her face in the mat, and did all sorts of other crazy things that could never happen on television now. Kaufman got away with some real craziness back in the day.
Andy Kaufman called Vince McMahon Sr. first and offered to do his wrestling bit for the WWWF, and Vince declined. So, he called Jerry Lawler in Memphis and The King jumped at the chance to have the “Taxi” star come in. As time went on, Jimmy became such a large part of Kaufman’s time in Memphis that he should’ve been included in the Jim Carrey movie, “Man on the Moon” about Kaufman’s career.
“The Mouth of the South,” says that he was placed with Andy Kaufman because Andy’s pre-match promos usually went around twenty minutes before he came to Memphis. Layfield tells a story that Lawler told him about how Kaufman used to get so much heat from his promos about the viewers that the television station told Jerry they couldn’t air them anymore. Too many people were calling the television station and complaining.
Jimmy says he and Andy were eating at a Shoney’s restaurant when their waitress asked for an autograph. Jimmy gave her the autograph, but Andy didn’t. Kaufman instead said, “I’ll give you an autograph after I get my food.” He took the gimmick so seriously that he was even mean to his waitress. Hart says that he told Andy Kaufman to give the woman an autograph because he didn’t want his food to be messed with.
Jimmy Hart and Andy Kaufman went everywhere together during Andy’s time in Memphis and one day he accompanied Kaufman to a radio appearance. During the radio interview, a DJ named Ron Olson interviewed Kaufman and Jimmy was being verbose with his responses. Hart says the DJ looked at Andy Kaufman and said, “you can’t get a word in edge-wise, they might as well call him the Mouth of the South,” and the name stuck. Jimmy Hart got his nickname because he was talking over Andy Kaufman.
That’s a lot of talking.
JBL says Andy Kaufman never cashed any of his checks from his Memphis appearances. He loved the business and just wanted to be a part of it. If he hadn’t of died so soon, he might have gone on to work even more extensively in the art form he loved and respected. This is why he should be on the celebrity list to become an eventual WWE Hall of Famer. It is a shame that Andy Kaufman died so young, just like “Legends With JBL” he was taken from us way too soon.
It’s a shame that we’re losing “Legends with JBL” on WWE Network, it is such a great show and full of such a wealth of wrestling history. Jimmy Hart later discussed the days when he managed the Nasty Boys in WCW and says he went to Eric Bischoff and pitched an idea for Knobbs and Saggs to do a “Beavis and Butthead” gimmick where they would sit on a couch and perform characters akin the popular MTV show.
Where else are we going to get those kinds of stories now?