The character was then changed into Latka Gravas for ABC's sitcom Taxi, appearing in 79 of 114 episodes in 1978-83.Kaufman's longtime manager George Shapiro encouraged him to take the gig.As Foreign Man, Kaufman would appear on the stage of comedy clubs, play a recording of the theme from the Mighty Mouse cartoon show while standing perfectly still, and lip-sync only the line "Here I come to save the day" with great enthusiasm.He would proceed to tell a few (purposely poor) jokes and conclude his act with a series of celebrity impersonations, with the comedy arising from the character's obvious ineptitude at impersonation.The performance is most famous for Kaufman's ending the show by actually taking the entire audience, in 24 buses, out for milk and cookies.He invited anyone interested to meet him on the Staten Island Ferry the next morning, where the show continued.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 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.
Kaufman first used his Foreign Man character in nightclubs in the early 1970s, often to tell jokes incorrectly and do weak imitations of famous people before bursting into his Elvis Presley imitation.
Sometimes it was Kaufman performing as Clifton, sometimes it was his brother Michael or Zmuda.
For a brief time, it was unclear to some that Clifton was not a real person.
Like Presley, he would take off his leather jacket during the song and throw it into the audience, but unlike Presley, Foreign Man would immediately ask for it to be returned.
After the song's finale, he would take a simple bow and say in his Foreign Man voice, "T'ank you veddy much." Portions of Kaufman's Foreign Man act were broadcast in the first season of Saturday Night Live.