4- Lloyd never breaks kayfabe
I’m employing an old professional wrestling industry term here, but one I think is appropriate. “Kayfabe” is, of course, the events of a match being construed as reality despite their fabrication. For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena aren’t really wrestling each other athletically, their rivalry is artifice, and their encounters are largely plotted by professional writers. Yet it is the job of the wrestlers, announcers, and company to sell the artifice as truth. To do otherwise would break kayfabe and ruin the illusion.
Lloyd Kaufman is a real guy. He’s a real writer,, actor, etc. He’s also a character — a zany, cartoonish caricature of a bad director surrounding himself with incompetent, insane, and, of course, Tromatic employees (who seem to include Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD). When a camera is pointed at him, Kaufman is always on. He rarely, if ever, breaks down the wall and gives people the real Lloyd Kaufman, and when he does, it is usually begrudgingly so.
This extends from Troma media into television, radio, print interviews, and even Kaufman’s non-fiction. Where the line between the “real” Lloyd Kaufman and “character” Lloyd Kaufman begins and ends is a little hazy, sometimes annoying, but more often than not it’s brilliant.
Kaufman is out to sell his movies and Troma as a company, plain and simple. He’s marketing himself as the company and the films and does so like a vaudevillian comedian. He’s out to entertain and make an impression, a tactic streamlined by such directors as Alfred Hitchcock and William Castle during their heyday. Kaufman takes his own spin on it as a fast-talking, neurotically crude, offensive, utterly insane but totally likeable version of himself. While the Toxic Avenger may be the company’s mascot, even the monster hero himself is overshadowed by Kaufman’s enthusiasm and gift of gab.
With his character he commits to Troma, its fans, and everything the company stands for, continuing an all-but-forgotten art among contemporary filmmakers: showmanship.
Find out what is our fifth and not-so-final reason why we love Kaufman…