In what's becoming a burgeoning industry for deceased celebrities, the holograms of comedians Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx will go on tour next year. Each comic's estate agreed to terms with Hologram USA to create a stage show based on their classic routines, with each virtual performance setting up "residencies in multiple locations in tourist-oriented cities across the country," Hologram USA founder Alki David told the New York Times.
"Who knew that the persistent rumors that Andy Kaufman would return from death would come true," David, who previously teamed with Chief Keef for a series of hologram performances, said in a statement. "We have the opportunity to resurrect him and present his genius with the same vitality and joy that his first audiences experienced 40 years ago. As for our other debut comedy hologram legend: Redd Foxx is a hero who helped change the game not just in comedy, but in how Americans talk about race and sex."
Like Hologram USA's in-the-works Whitney Houston virtual concerts in 2016, each star's hologram show will feature biographical elements in addition to the performed material. In the case of Foxx, the comedian's interaction with Malcolm X will be shown. Michael Kaufman, Andy's brother and a representative of the late comedian's estate, called the hologram performances "the right platform for the new generation of audiences to experience Andy" over three decades after his "alleged" death.
The hologram performances would also be hosted on David's FilmOn video site. As David told the New York Times, there's no shortage of potential hologram concerts and standup routines based on beloved celebrities. "There are an awful lot of dead celebrities," he said. "There are an awful lot of dead people with a lot of followers. The fresher the memory, the bigger the star." Hologram USA's first touring hologram will be Billie Holiday later this year.
Kaufman and Foxx aren't Hologram USA's first foray into the world of virtual comedy: In May, the company partnered with the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York to produce 10 to 12 four-minute routines from comics like George Carlin, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Rodney Dangerfield and Lucille Ball. National Comedy Center chairman Tom Benson described the endeavor as "a comedy club where folks can go back in time and witness a classic routine in a setting – God knows where it might have been – and experience that as if they were really there." The center, which broke ground in July, is scheduled to open in 2017.
In November 2014, Hologram USA also allowed Jimmy Kimmel to host a country music awards ceremony in Nashville while onstage in Los Angeles.