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His mother was Janice (née Bernstein), a homemaker and former fashion model, and his father was Stanley Kaufman, a jewelry salesman.
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.
First Run December 20, 1965 – July 6, 1973 (ABC Daytime) October 6, 1966 – January 17, 1970 (ABC primetime) September 10, 1973 – September 1974 (Syndication) Second Run September 4, 1978 – September 1980 (Syndication) Third Run September 15, 1986 – September 8, 1989 (Syndication) Fourth Run September 9, 1996 – September 1999 (Syndication) The Dating Game is an ABC television show.
It first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s.
The 1986 revival was hosted by Elaine Joyce for its first season and Jeff Mac Gregor for its remaining two seasons.
When the show was revived with a different format in 1996, Brad Sherwood was named as its host.
Kaufman hated being called a comedian, seeing as how he never told any jokes, preferring the title of “performer” or “song and dance” man instead, but he might have been the funniest person ever to grace the world of comedy.He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, once saying in a rare introspective interview, "I am not a comic, I have never told a joke. The comedian's promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him. My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can." After working in small comedy clubs in the early 1970s, Kaufman first came to the attention of a wider audience in 1975, when he was invited to perform portions of his act on the first season of Saturday Night Live.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.For example, in his fake accent Kaufman would say to the audience, "I would like to imitate Meester Carter, de president of de United States" and then, in exactly the same voice, say "Hello, I am Meester Carter, de president of de United States.T'ank you veddy much." At some point in the performance, usually when the audience was conditioned to Foreign Man's inability to perform a single convincing impression, Foreign Man would announce, "And now I would like to imitate the Elvis Presley", turn around, take off his jacket, slick his hair back, and launch into a rousing, hip-shaking, excellent rendition of Presley singing one of his hit songs.
ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it continued in syndication for another year (1973–1974) as The New Dating Game.