Tony Clifton was discovered by the late comedy great Andy Kaufman, who found Clifton performing in a seedy Las Vegas lounge in 1969. Captivated, Kaufman recruited Clifton to open for him on a string of engagements, most notably his Carnegie Hall Concert. Later, Kaufman insisted on Clifton being hired for what would be a controversial appearance on the hit TV show “Taxi” in 1978.
Clifton went on to open for Rodney Dangerfield, play to capacity crowds in soccer stadiums throughout Central and South America, share the stage of the Hollywood Bowl with R.E.M. and, in a twist of fate, appear opposite Jim Carrey in the critically hailed Kaufman biopic “Man on the Moon.”
Cantankerous as ever, Clifton continues to entertain, appearing recently as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman and The Jimmy Kimmel Show, in addition to taking the spotlight as the “Official Grand Marshall” of the Hangout Music Fest, addressing tens of thousands of beachside fans annually. Similarly, Clifton has been active as the emcee for concerts by The Flaming Lips, Primus, Umphrey’s McGee, Dirty Projectors and more, in between recording sessions for his album of duets with music luminaries including R.E.M., Billy Corgan and others. Having just premiered to a packed NYC house at the PS1/MOMA gallery, “Tony Clifton: The Movie” is currently storming the film festival circuit here and abroad.