DNFCA Hanukka Special: A Latka For Diana

In 1979, Andy Kaufman, aka Taxi’s Latka Gravas, challenged Diana Nyad to a wrestling match. Diana declined, but at least two of Kaufman’s challenges remain.

Photo of Andy Kaufman wearing t-shirt printed with "Women's Wrestling Champion Of The World"
Above: Andy Kaufman in 1980. Image via Reddit.

In the late 1970s, boundary-breaking performance artist/comedian Andy Kaufman began challenging women to wrestle.

In August 1979, Diana Nyad swam from Bimini, Bahamas, to Jupiter, Florida. As you’d expect, she immediately began exaggerating and lying about her feat: She said that she was the first to do it, she had swum over 100 miles, it had taken over 40 hours, her press boat—a big yacht—had “a slew of photographers leaning over the railings,” and she had set a new record for the world’s longest swim.

None of that was true.

I don’t know when Kaufman first challenged Nyad to a match, but it may have come in response to Nyad’s post-Bimini bluster. Unfortunately, she never accepted.

Fortunately, Kaufman challenged Nyad on camera at least twice.

Here he is ringside at Madison Square Garden with Vince McMahon, October 22, 1979:

After a match on Saturday Night Live two days earlier, Kaufman called Nyad a chicken:

Happy Hanukkah!

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