Andy Kaufman's Infamous Prank that Started a Brawl on the Live TV Set

On the February 20, 1981 episode of "Fridays", Andy Kaufman was the host. During a sketch about couples at dinner sneaking away to the bathroom to smoke marijuana, Kaufman, who was known for causing trouble on live television, broke character and refused to read his lines (saying "I can't play stoned"). The co-star Michael Richards got up from the table, grabbed the cue cards, and threw them down on the table in front of Kaufman, who responded by throwing a glass of water at Richards.  

Some of the show's cast and crew members (including Richards and show producer Jack Burns) became angry and a small brawl broke out on stage. Since the show was broadcast live, home viewers were able to see most of these events transpire until the network cut the cameras off. Kaufman returned the following week in a taped apology to home viewers. The incident was planned by Kaufman, who concocted it with his sidekick Bob Zmuda, and was meant as a prank. 

The only individuals aware of the plan were producer/director Moffitt, producer/announcer Burns, and the three comedians acting in the sketch along with Kaufman: Richards, Chartoff, and Burrell.


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