The deceased comedians Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx will once again take to the stage, this time as holograms.
The announcement was made by Hologram USA, a technology company that focuses on producing visual recreations of famous celebrities.
The company has obtained the right to use the likenesses of Kauffman and Foxx. It plans to use previously recorded routines to create performances that will be shown around the country next year.
Founder and CEO of Hologram USA Alki David is extremely excited about the upcoming shows.
David said, “They’re comedy icons. Both of them influenced so many comedians after them.”
Foxx was one of the first black comedians to achieve popularity with white audiences. He is also well known for starring in the sitcom Sanford & Son.
Kaufman was a frequent guest of Late Night with David Letterman. He also starred on the sitcom Taxi.
Kauffman’s brother and representative of his estate Michael Kaufman approved of the idea.
Michael Kauffman said, “(It’s) the right platform for the new generation of audiences to experience Andy.”
David also mentioned that the hologram performances would feature some of the best known material from the comedians. He specifically mentioned Andy Kaufman’s performance of lip-syncing the Mighty Mouse theme during the debut episode of Saturday Night Live.
According to David, the hologram shows will focus on cities that have a large tourist industry.
David explained, “They will play several times a day for the first year and then eventually they’ll be put on a rotation with other acts.”
Hologram USA is based in Beverly Hills, CA. It has also created holograms of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel. The company is also working on holograms of Billie Holiday and Whitney Houston.
However, the business is somewhat risky. For one, the celebrities involved have often been out of pop culture for decades, like those of Foxx and Kaufman.
But perhaps even more troubling is the potential of offending viewers who might feel like the company is exploiting the deceased.
Nevertheless, David says that his company plans to make more holograms of celebrities in the future, particularly focusing on ones who have passed away. “There are an awful lot of dead celebrities. There are an awful lot of dead people with a lot of followers. The fresher the memory, the bigger the star,” he said.