Amanda Bynes is Joaquin Phoenix is Tony Clifton

EXHIBIT A: TONY CLIFTON

Who is Tony Clifton?

Tony Clifton is a belligerent, offensively talentless and washed-up old lounge singer. He is known for forgetting the lyrics to his own songs, insulting patrons for no particular reason, and walking out in the middle of his act. During his performances, people are either bored to tears or pushed to violent acts. As a result, Tony Clifton is no stranger to being immediately booed or forcibly escorted out of various venues. Tony Clifton doesn’t need you, he spits when he thinks of you. And he’s still touring, so if you’re near Sunset Boulevard you can see the train wreck for yourself every Friday night at The World Famous Comedy Store!

But, really, who is Tony Clifton?

Tony Clifton is not a real person. He is actually the fictitious character and ongoing elaborate hoax conceived by creative partners Bob Zmuda and comedian Andy Kaufman. Initially, some people speculated that it was Andy playing Tony Clifton, despite Andy’s claims that he’d met Clifton in Vegas while waiting to meet Elvis. But when Tony Clifton started opening regularly for Andy Kaufman- well, that sealed it. People were officially fooled. A genius move on their part, Andy and Bob had both trained to perform as Clifton and had also commissioned several others to take on the role as needed, including Andy’s brother. And their plan worked. It took the media, and therefore the people, a very long time to figure out that Tony Clifton wasn’t a real person.

Bob Zmuda, who’s admitted to the hoax in the past, is still tight-lipped about the the current person(s) playing the part of Tony Clifton.

The LA Times reported on May 15, 2010, that when asked about the details regarding Clifton’s arrest for disorderly conduct, Bob Zmuda was predictably elusive:

“It just so happened that Mr. Tony Clifton had got arrested in New Orleans and the judge was going to throw the book at him,” Zmuda said, explaining the setup. “We talked to the judge and asked if instead of jail time, could Tony do community service for the charity?”

Tony Clifton. The Man, The Legend.

EXHIBIT A, part 2: The Wrestler

In retrospect, it’s pretty clear that creating an alter ego was one of Andy Kaufman’s favorite games.

Andy Kaufman “The Wrestler”

In early 1982, Andy Kaufman staged an involved hoax in which he’d designed to become a professional wrestler and began offering women in his audience $1,000 (and his hand in marriage) if they could beat him at wrestling. After an unsuccessful attempt at humbling Andy, a professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler decided to challenge Andy to a match, which Andy accepted and lost. But Andy took every opportunity to slam Lawler and his hometown in interviews, offending a lot of women and Southerns in the process. This famous feud with Jerry Lawler inspired one of the most famous televised interviews on Letterman in April of 1982:

Years later, Lawler admitted that he’d met Andy in 1977 and they’d been friends all along.

EXHIBIT B: JOAQUIN PHOENIX “THE RAPPER”

First of all, can I just say PSSSSSHHHHHHHHHT! 

In 2008, Joaquin Phoenix publicly quit his acting career. In January of 2009, that’s when things started to get weird.

Joaquin was publicly going nuts. He grew this disgusting beard, and was adamant about pursuing a career as a rap artist. Embarrassing performances followed, during one of which he fell off the stage and ate it HARD. Every move of his apparent meltdown was exhaustively covered by the media. During his appearance on Letterman, for which he was supposedly promoting his upcoming film Two Lovers, Phoenix’s behavior was more than puzzling and entirely unintelligible. He’d clearly lost his mind! But somehow all of that juicy, batshit-crazy behavior- well, it almost felt too good to be true. And it was.

In September of 2010 Casey Affleck publicly announced that Joaquin’s behavior over the past couple of years had all been heavily scripted, the subject of his upcoming documentary.

While I don’t think this ruse exhibited the same genius as Tony Clifton, I still have to give them all a round of applause. It’s nice to see people finding creative platforms for their performance. When you’re famous the options are pretty straightforward, but they found a way to work around it. Joaquin Phoenix had always flown just below the celebrity magazine radar, but he was still famous enough to help Casey Affleck tell a 2-year long joke.

He was all, WAIT FOR IT……………………………………………………………………………………………………..!

THE CONCLUSION:

Amanda Bynes…

When Amanda was 7-years-old she attended a comedy camp which landed her a commercial and some other small roles. Three years later, Amanda was cast as a regular member of All That, a sketch comedy show on Nickelodeon. Eventually, Nickelodeon gave Amanda her own comedy show, The Amanda Show.

In her later teens Amanda’s film career started to blossom, with comedies What a Girl Wants & She’s the Man. A few years later she was cast as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray.

After that, she really didn’t have that much going on till 2009, when she was cast as a supporting role in the COMEDY Easy A.

On June 19th, 2010 Amanda Bynes publicly quit acting. No! It cannot be!

It wasn’t.

A month later she “unretired” and plugged Easy A for it’s upcoming release. And then she quit acting again. Make up your mind, crazypants!

This was only the beginning of her erratic behavior.

Throughout the year of 2012, Amanda Bynes had a slew of legal trouble, mostly driving related. But the cases have been dropped left and right. Weird, right? In the courtroom she’s always lucid, respectful and well-spoken. Hmph.

She’s leaving the breadcrumbs, but I guess it’s just easier to believe she’s really lost her marbles.

I’m not buying it.

Example #1

Amanda Bynes VS Blac Chyna

Hmmm…. Apparently, Blac Chyna used to bang Drake.

PUBLIC OPINION: She’s desperately trying to get Drake to love her and murder her vagina.

REALITY: Come on! Look at her face!

(A little known fact: Cheek piercings close up extremely well. They’re one of the most noncommittal forms of body art.)

Example #2

She wore the wig in court, but you can’t wear a wig for your mugshot!

PUBLIC OPINION: She’s a very disturbed girl who shaved her head and thinks that crazy-ass wig looks okay. It’s tragic.

REALITY: Don’t be distracted by the shaved head or the crazy wig. Look at the mugshot. Does that resemble the puffy-faced pictures that have been circulating the web? Nope. Those Twitter pics make her look like Mrs. Fucking Doubtfire.

The media is just lapping it up, as they are wont to do. Not me.

When I read this shit about Amanda Bynes- her tweets, pics, videos- it cracks me up. I’ll bet it makes you laugh too. Because it’s ridiculous! Hell, this might be the funniest thing she’s done yet. It’s the new Amanda Show. It sure is a step up from that sitcom she did with Jennie Garth- oof!

So, in conclusion:

I’m on to you, Amanda Bynes. I don’t know what your plan is or how long this social performance is going to last- but I’ll pay for a ticket, a book, whatever. I’m sure it’s going to be hilarious.

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