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What is Grudge Match?
What is Grudge Match?

The Scenario

The ambassadors and dignitaries at this emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly buzz with tension as Kofi Annan addresses the instabilities in Eastern Europe.

"And for these reasons," continues Annan, "we must support the efforts of the freedom fighters attempting to overthrow the tyrannical despot in the war torn nation of [microphone feedback temporarily blocks out Annan's words]. However, the current government remains strong, largely due to the power they can wield by being allowed to use the tiny island nation of Mypos as an air base for their Mediterranean military campaigns. Before proposing any sanctions or military actions against Mypos, I have invited a representative from the country to speak on their behalf."

From the front of the audience, Balki Bartokomous walks to the podium and addresses the assembly. "Many of you may think that what my country is doing is wrong, but it is necessary for our survival. We are but simple sheepherders, and the only nation that will buy our sheep is [more feedback]. If the rebels win, our country will die. Also, the rebels are criminals! Travelers have told our people stories of burning, pillowing, and rapping--"

"Kakbolt!" yells a voice from the back. Balki looks up to see an angered Latka Gravas. "How dare you say these lies about my people! Adee-feebee! We must have revolution! And any lowly, backwards sheepherders that get in our way can kiss my yaktabe!"

"Lowly?! Backwards?! Yaktabe?! Tach Mach Bing Bing!!"

Filled with National Pride & Purpose (tm), the two immigrants rush each other. So Dusty, which enraged emissary embarrasses his enemy and emerges to enlist empathy from the envoys?

Latka Gravas, Taxi
Latka Gravas


Balki Bartokomous
Balki Bartokomous, Perfect Strangers

Please welcome our guest commentator J A 'Dusty' Sayers, of East Tennessee, a history major at the University of Tennessee. Dusty's dedication is so great that he survived a car wreck just to get his commentary in on time. Dusty also co-created Rescue the Princess, an on-line adventure game.

The Commentary

DUSTY: Well, Brian, Balki may be a nice enough fellow, but Latka is going to kick his yaktabe before you can say globnik. After all, Latka is already an experienced fighter. He was a general in a previous rebellion in his own country, and, even more difficult in that war-torn land, he was a living general. He's also been toughened by his experiences in New York City. Latka had no cousin to stay with; he worked as a mechanic at the Sunshine Cab Company and, despite that skinny frame, has developed upper body muscles and a knack for swinging heavy objects (say, a handy microphone stand or a UN delegate's paperweight) that will allow him to pummel his unprepared opponent into insensibility. Latka didn't just work out there, either; his co-workers included Jeopardy! (TM) champion Jim Ignatowski, from whom Latka has learnt tactics and strategy (in Jim's rare lucid moments), Tony Banta, who has taught him fist-fighting, and Louie DePalma, a master of underhanded moves and dirty tricks. These may seem like second-string allies and mentors, but look at the company Balki kept in Chicago--he just had his journalist cousin, who spent all his time trying (and failing) to impress his boss. That's the sort of attitude that has Balki's fellow Myposians caving into the demands of the tyrannical despot of Latka's homeland.

It is obvious that Latka has the ability to defeat his opponent (and, indeed, the opponent of Democracy (TM) itself), but does he have the will? Absolutely. True, Latka seems nice enough most of the time, but he has hidden reserves of energy. This is a man who beat an addiction to cocaine-laced cookies in a single night. Not only did that experience teach him the virtue of self-control, but his hallucination of Famous Amos taught him the value of capitalism as well. Latka is a man who knows what he wants, and who knows how to get it. Balki? Faugh. He once was tyrannized by a little child from Mypos because his traditions forbade him to ever say 'No' to her. It took him an entire traumatic episode to nerve himself up to forbidding the whiny brat some small favour she wanted. How can the representative of a nation that won't even say 'No' to its children ever stand up to the manic fury of Latka Gravas, especially when he has the backing of the majority of the United Nations?

BRIAN: Dusty, if that is your real name, despite your token pro-Latka arguments, Balki will win this due to three all important factors:

1.) The Name Factor™ -- Balki, or Balky, means "given to balking", or "given to thwarting". Thus, it is in Balki's nature to prevent Latka from achieving his goals. Throw in the baseball definition of "balk", and it's clear that Balki is prone to illegal acts of deceit -- he's willing to do anything necessary to win this match. Latka, OTOH, is Yiddish for "potato pancake". I don't think I need to extrapolate.

2.) Ethnic Fighting Ability Factor™ -- Latka hails from Eastern Europe, the home of Pollocks and Slavs. The pitiful military history of Latka's fellow garage mate, WWWF loser and Slav Jim Ignatowski has already been well established, and Poland fell to the Nazi War Machine™ before France. Before France! Clearly, Latka's nation is no tougher, as proven by your own point of how tough it is to be a living general is his nation's army. Balki, however, hails from the Mediterranean, which means Greek, Roman, Carthaginian, and Turkish influences, a veritable who's who of ancient warfare. Latka's nation is the kind of thing that Balki's nation acquires in a peace settlement.

3.) Love of Country Factor™ -- Since both are fighting to preserve their nation, whomever loves his country the most will win. Latka loves his country so much that he married a hooker (without a honeymoon) in order to stay in America, and repeatedly reverted to the accentless Vic Ferrari disco persona, demonstrating that deep down, Latka wants to be an American. Balki is the only one that continues to honor his country's traditions no matter how tough, whether it be taking abuse from a young girl, giving people presents on his birthday, or standing at the Mantle of One Thousand Itches while wearing the Boxer Shorts of Eternal Chafing. If Latka had half the patriotic passion of Balki, he would have actually gone off to fight in his nation's revolution, instead of wimping out at the last minute. Balki beats Latka until he's uglier than Madeline Albright.

DUSTY: First of all, no-one could be uglier than Madeline Albright. Secondly, everyone likes potatoes, and everyone like pancakes, so, sorry Brian, but even if your preposterous name theory made any sense, it still wouldn't work in your favour. I'm afraid the only fightin' foreigner who will be balking today will be Balki.

I will admit that Latka did do his best to stay out of his homeland back in the early '80s, but you seem to forget that that was when his country was part of the Evil Communist Empire (TM). He only wanted freedom and democracy and the right to keep all the money he could get his hands on. However, in the late, largely unlamented '90s, communism collapsed, and the winds of change that swept it out were supposed to usher in liberty, democracy, and McDonald's. Latka's homeland, however, has not seen this reform, despite the collapse of tin-pot dictatorships all around it. If that doesn't give a frequently frustrated exile The Rage (TM), I don't know what would.

You claim Latka does not love his country because he does not follow its non-American (and therefore goofy) customs, but you are wrong. Who could forget his wedding to Simka, where he wore his father's wedding dress? That's right, the men among Latka's people get married wearing a dress. Laugh if you want, but who else wears a dress? None but some of the fiercest fighters on Earth, as Groundskeeper Willy can tell you, and as the Braveheart Jihad (TM) could tell you (if there was a Jihad). Latka's people are not the bewildered Slavs you think they are; they are a lost tribe of Scots, ready to reclaim their heritage! Mypos? In that part of the world, if either the Greeks or the Turks won't fight for it, it must be the most barren, boring rock in the Mediterranean.

This fight will be short and sweet, and after securing his people's freedom, Latka can retire to a nice cottage on the banks of the river Mekmek with his wife and a nice bottle of Brefnish.

BRIAN: Have we sunk this low? Have we strayed this far as a web site that now a man wearing women's clothing is a good thing? I, for one, will not stand for it!

This is a straight-up fight where the participants are driven by a Patriotic Rage™. Clearly, whichever of the two is more of a Real Man™ is going to win. Latka's wearing of a wedding dress automatically disqualifies him from having Man Status. I don't care how many skirts the Scots wear, the last time I checked, that "Freedom" they supposedly won in Braveheart earned them nothing more than a slot in the United Kingdom as England's whipping boy. You might have had a chance if you'd brought up gladiators, but at least those skirts were made of manly metal, and 99% of them died messily anyway. Any coolness that Russell Crowe's wearing of a copper kilt may give Latka is easily cancelled out by RuPaul.

Balki, OTOH, is a Real Man™. Look no further than his hot girlfriend/wife for proof of that. The best Latka could do was Simka, who was not only questionable in the looks department, but also hen-pecked him to death. Every Real Man knows that the only reason you put up with that kind of attitude is if she looks really good, which obviously wasn't the case. And the one time Latka cheated on her (a little nik nik to prevent from freezing to death), he couldn't get away with it for more than 5 seconds. What a wuss! Meanwhile, Balki is dressed in full ninja garb, playing Cato to Cousin Larry's Inspector Clouseau, and unleashing the scourge known as Urkel on an unsuspecting world. There isn't even a contest here.

A vote for Balki over Latka is a vote for testosterone over estrogen, for Howard Stern over Oprah Winfrey, and for Terminator 2 over How to Make an American Quilt. (And that goes for UN voters as well as WWWF voters, despite Annan's obvious railroading attempts.)

Thanks to Josh Plante and Russ Schaff for suggesting this match.

For Taxi and Perfect Strangers links, visit Sitcoms Online.

The Results

Latka Gravas, Taxi

Latka Gravas (751 - 56.6%)


Balki Bartokomous, Perfect Strangers

Balki Bartokomous (576 - 43.4%)

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Voter Comments


This is exactly the sort of messy foriegn relations nightmare the United States loves to stick its nose into for no discernable reason. The less it has to do with America, the faster our military will rush to get involved. As the more "American" of the two, it is only natural that Latka would get the US Army to wage its pushbutton war against Mypos and the fascist government of his home country as opposed to the other way around. Besides, us yanks have always had a soft spot in our hearts for rebels.

Of course, given America's track record in such affairs, it seems clear that "Operation Island Sheep Shag," in addition to being the butt of late night talk show monologues for months, will fail to do anything save pump millions of dollars in tourist revenue into the Myposian economy. Luckily this will allow the Mypos government to become self sufficient, breaking them free from the economic stranglehold imposed on them by those officous bastards from Latka's neck of the woods.

Sure this will result in Latka's homeland declaring full out war on America, but that's rather like my foot delaring war on my ass: it is possible, with a little stretching beforehand, to kick my own ass, but it rather lacks the impact of having my ass kicked by someone with far better leverage vis a vis my backside than myself. Uh, that made sense, right? At any rate, thus does the US of A solve yet another international crisis purely by accident.

Of course, that's all well and good, but the question remains: Which "Foriegn Man," will win the fist fight on the floor of the United Nations?

While I will admit to being a big fan of Perfect Strangers at the time it aired, I have since gained several years worth of experience and perspective, and hopefully a little maturity. I can therefore say with, I hope, a fair degree of certainty that Balki is going to get his sorry ass annihilated.

Quite simply, Balki is a watered down knock-off of his intended opponent, and I don't think I need to explain to you guys that the original is always the best.

- Don "King" Milliken

Silver Grudgie ROTW Silver Medal GrudgieTM

Hmmm...interesting match. On the one hand, you've got Andy Kaufman, the enigma. A man that some people beleive *to this very day*, faked his own death. And on the other hand, there's Bronson Pinchot. The one-hit wonder's one-hit wonder. But Perfect Strangers ended, Cousin Larry moved on, and the spinoff taught us that huge, fat cops and black nerds can learn to live in harmony. Given the current state of Bronson Pinchot's career, I'm convinced that he may have faked his own *life*. 5 years ago, I saw him on Where are they Now: Sitcom Stars. Last week, I saw him on Where are they Now: Former subjects of Where are they Now. Latka wins by acclamation.

- 1/2 Nelson -- Now I do the dance of joy!

Bronze Grudgie ROTW Bronze Medal GrudgieTM (tie)

Latka will win. Going back from the days when Taxi was on tv other than Nick at Nite (When I was a kid), Latka scared the hell out of me. Don't laugh! His voice and the strange way he walked put the living fear of potato pancakes in me. Besides the fear instilled, Latka is a vengeful man. There was an episode of Taxi where you get to see what his wish would be, and he has DeVito getting shot by a firing squad. Would Balki do such a thing? Hell no! His wish is for his little stuffed sheep to come to life and become his love slave (Baa-lky!). Also, don't underestimate the power of potato pancakes. They've given the Jewish people heart problems for years, what with all the oil and the frying, and the froin lavin! Oy vey!

- Pareeha, still recovering from starch-induced nightmares (The Horror!)

Bronze Grudgie ROTW Bronze Medal GrudgieTM (tie)

Come on here people...did all of you miss the Beverly Hills Cop movies? Did I see Latka selling guns to Eddie Murphy? No, I saw Balki. So we know the dude can not only pack heat but make some heat of his own (you remember the hand-held artillery cannon from The Fifth Element? I betcha it was one of his designs). Latka, however, would probably be best trained in the close-in combat of the wrench and box wrench and torque wrench (getting the idea here?). It's just another case of man with gun shooting man without gun before man without gun gets close enough to horribly maim man with gun.

- Peter Smith

Could you make a more lopsided match? Sigh, for the slow kids in the backroom let's break this down.

Mentos(tm) Cool Factor: Latka has this in spades. As the smooth talking Vic Ferrari, he had cool(tm) in spades. Even Latkas other alter-ego, Andy Kaufman, had cool. Who but the coolest of us ever get a chance to sit in a resturant with a pro wrestler eating breakfast and turn it into a movie? Bah, Balki doesn't even come close in the cool factor.

Rage(tm): Like the Grinch, Latka is still fuming about being portrayed by hack-actor Jim Carrey. I know it would piss me off to no end. Add to that the fact that Latka always had a simmering rage underneath his sweet exterior.

Pro-Wrestling: Only Latka has ever entered the pro wrestling ring. Sure he mostly beat up women, but he still has more experience than Balki.

Finally, the picture clearly shows Latka wearing a manly set of oil covered coveralls, while that Balki guy was wearing suspenders. Who the hell wears suspenders? Guys like George Will, that's who. Do you think George Will could beat up an automechanic? How about a mechanic with wrestling experience. Hell no. Latka will be pounding Balkis' head into the podium while yelling "we will bury you!" like Krushvnev on speed.

- G. Bob

Balki has this one in the bag. He will simply lure Latka into trying one of his world famous Bibi-bopkas. As you know, these are already highly addictive to normal people, and given Latka's propensity for confectionary addiction, it won't be much of a problem to get him hopelessly hooked. Then all Balki has to do is sing the Bibi-bopka song incorrectly, and BAM! Latka is taken out by the infamous Exploding Pastry Technique.

- bandgasm

According to "Man on the Moon", Andy Kaufman hated working on "Taxi". He hated the idea of being typecast and cheap laughs. If he loses this fight, he'll be given press coverage, called a "victim" and a bunch of crap that will only make him more popular and give the show even more longevity. However, if he wins, he'll be labled a violent, sadistic madman. Fearing he would be a bad example for children, his character would be yanked right off the airwaves. Andy would want nothing more than that, thus giving him the motivation needed to win.

- Michael Brzeski, the Toon Leader

Is it just me or does this seem a bit like a hoax played out by Kaufman. I mean come on a war within Europe, that's implausible. There Never has been a war in europe ever before why now???. Something is fishy and it isn't Balki's Aftershave. Now Rand MCnAlly that's who we must fear, them and the Borg!!!!

- Shaun The Other White Meat

Gad, this is one of those U.N.s, isn't it? One of those crazed U.N.s where a single international meeting can't go by unless an evil Haitian billionaire/drug lord discreetly blows out the eardrums of a delegate, or insane Kryptonian dictators smash through the wall and demand they be given the world, and now we have two foreigners from nonexistent countries battling it out, thoroughly embarrassing our league of nations. -Except now there's no James Bond or Superman to save our asses now. No, we can't have a decent U.N. anymore, where people actually talk to each other. But... I digress.

As we all know, nonexistent foreigners absolutely suck at fighting wars. Ever since the end of the Cold War, any movie/video game that wishes to be friendly to all countries will create a new nation. One conceived in evil, and created on a foundation of gripping an iron fist around the world (their country's name usually ends in a suffix of "-ania" or "-avia"). But every time they try to get into a war, they are promptly knocked into next Tuesday by the good ol' U.S. of A. or the nearest convenient Allied nation (just in case America's too busy kicking the crap out of another nonexistent country). Hell, these guys could get the help of a freaking alien race and still lose because of their extreme sucktitude (believe me, it's happened). Then what makes these guys any different?! Latka was an absolute riot on Taxi but not much of a fighter, comprehend? And who's this other guy? Balki? I had to look this guy up, and then I found out he was the member of a show that spawned a spin-off. Jeez. A spin-off that created Urkel... Dear Lord.

In essence, there is no fight. Both of these jokers would be going down, hard. The fight will be stopped by the convenient wacky-U.N.-interruption-of-the-day (the greater forces didn't think a minor squabble between funny-talking guys was sufficient for the Crazy U.N.) As gigantic robotic grasshoppers with lasers for eyes threaten our ambassadors, a member of U.N. security will break up the funny-talker fight (while all other security guards foolishly try to stop the insect invaders with mere human projectile bullets) by taking out one of the combatants. Since it's our proud American policy never to prosecute anyone who's famous, and since the guard just saw Man on the Moon, Balki is peat moss. Latka wins by default. End of story.

- Charge Man

This is a curious matchup, Mypos vs. some Eastern European country that is so insignificant that no one remembers its name. However, this contest is very similar to a recent conflict in the real world. Latka's country evidently resembles Bosnia (it is in the same part of the world). And the rebels supported by Mypos are similar to the Kosovars (who were supported by Albania). Based on this, it is obvious that the UN is going to side with Mypos.

However, as long as only the UN is involved, Latka's country has nothing to worry about. Remember that UN peacekeepers routinely got their butts kicked in Somalia by street gangs, not even real soldiers. Therefore, even people like Latka would be too much for them to handle. And economic sanctions? Hah! Iraq has been under sanctions for nearly 10 years with no real effect on their government. So, what will likely happen is that, after the UN mishandles this dispute, they will call on NATO for help. Since this involves Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, NATO will feel the area is strategic and will intervene with lots of bombing, cruise missiles, and all the other things that go with them. Latka's homeland would soon surrender to the NATO onslaught, concede to the UN demands, and quickly vote out their old government. Then both Latka's country and Mypos would get tons of foreign aid from the European Union and the US, solving their financial woes. As Yogi Berra would say, this match looks like "deja vu all over again".

- The Demented Astronomer

Guys, guys, guys... how can you have forgotten the most important factor in this battle? Experience in hand to hand fighting in front of a sleazy audience (if the UN doesn't qualify with its quorum of political lifers hanging on to cinecures, then nothing does). In his Andy Kaufman disguise, Latka spent YEARS kicking professional wrestlers' butts. I don't recall Balki ever taking a real shot from anyone. Ever.

- Night Tripper

Latka sounds like Latte, which means Starbucks, which means inscrutible logos feturing Women-With-Fish-For-Arms(tm). Balki just can't cope with that kind of power.

Besides which, his nose looks like an ethnic gourd.

- Antidisestablishmentairianism

Balki, any of andy kauffmans alter-egos, who really cares who wins? now, where are those potato pankakes i was promised?

- kramertim

I refuse to buy into the recent Kaufman chic! He was clearly insane! He wrestled women, for god sakes. He took an entire audience on school buses to get milk and cookies after a show. He was absolutely crazy! He was a dangerous nut. He... Um. Well, all of that gives him an advantage, doesn't it? Dammit.

- Evan D.

I never watched Taxi so I know nothing about Latka.
However, while he doesn't have the Eye of the Tiger™, Latka seems to have the Aspect of Madness(TM pending), a near (if weaker) cousin to the fearsome Eye.

"Don't be ridiculous™", there's no way Balki can stand before a madman. Madmen have neither fear nor mercy. I can't help but wonder if Cuzzin Larry will be able to throw in the towel before Latka gnaws out Balki's larynx. It will be a quick and gory victory.

Of course, if Serge's association with the near-Mentos Level Coolness™ of Beverly Hills Cop entered the picture, we might have a fairer fight.

- Obscured Underlord, happily picturing how Jenny Summers filled out...

"Welcome everyone to CNN's coverage of 'CRISIS IN MYPOS!' I'm Wolf Blitzer. With the war escalating and the death toll rising, both Ambassadors Latka and Balki were flown to Camp David where they have been holding critical meetings with President Bush for the past 57 days attempting to negotiate a peace accord. We now go to our correspondent outside of Camp David, a Midget Wearing a Bikini!"

"Thank you, Wolf. Things are going badly here at Camp David with communication being the largest problem. CNN has obtained an audio tape of the meetings."

TV screen shows a picture of a tape recorder with the following text rolling up the screen.

LATKA: Yakatabamamamfusio!
BALKI: Orgaballamazookono!
DUBYA: Ummaummaumma, um ma not understating what you're stating to me at this stating time.
LATKA: I sorry. I call this Ambassador Balki a man who fondles of the private parts of a Yak!
BALKI: I call Ambassador Latka a sheep rapping guy who raps sheep.
DUBYA: Um ma sorry. Ah wusn't payin' attenshun.
LATKA: What?
DUBYA: Um ma sorry. Ah wusn't payin' attenshun.
BALKI: He said "you are scarey and he is paintin' you're kitchen."
LATKA: Thank you very much.
DUBYA: U'all are talkin' funny. Can we finna peaceful alternate to an alternative of war, which would be peace... or if not peace, then not war since that would na be peaceful. Therefore, I propose the alternator of war and that would be peace.
BALKI: What?
LATKA: Me not understanding.
DUBYA: Do you want an alternator?
LATKA: Aaaahhhhh! I understand. We have alternators at the garage for the taxis. We no need them in my country.
BALKI: You both palming things behind my back. Your evil palms for world dormination will not work. I will stop your dormination.
LATKA: Me no like dorms. Me could not get accepted at college.
DUBYA: U'all shoulda seen me in college. Woooo doggie! Was ah wassteed.
LATKA: You try to woo Balki?
BALKI: Nooo, silly. Don't be crazy. He trying to woo little doggie. You know, bark, bark.
LATKA: That worse than yak fondling.
DUBYA: Damn! Now ah wish Gore hadda won. Oh wait, he did.

- The Admiral - U.S. Ambassador to Mypos

I thought this would be the second match in which I would be unable to deliver a witty reparte, but then I reconsidered.

The Cardinal Rule of Combat must always be considered: "Never bet on the white guy." But since both these guys are as pasty as they can get, we have to go to the corollary: "Unless he's Jewish."

With the RAGE(tm) of thousands of years of his people's persecution backing him, Latke will rip into Balki with the fervor of hundreds of idol-worshippers, and then be struck down with the force of Yahweh as his messenger comes down from Mt. Sinai.

Well, so much for peace in the Gaza Strip...

- D-kun, who wants to plug his site for a nickel

Well, We should probably start by noting that it is widly known (At least widly known after "Man on the Moon") that Latka is one of the alteregos of prowrestler, and inter-gender champion of the world, Andy Kaufman. Given Latka's multiple personality disorder, it shouldn't be hard for Latka to channel the Champ(TM), and kick Balki's ass. However, we must also consider Kaufman's record against members of his own sex. As far as I know, the closest Kaufman ever came to actually beating another man was against "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart, who is a noted runt, and could be beaten by Balki with both hands behind his back.

So, if channeling the inter-gender wrestling champion is going to be such a handicap, why doesn't Latka just wrestle as himself? Simply put, Kaufman/Latka won't be able not to. Kaufman, being the showman that his is/was, won't be able to stand the thought of two likeable characters like Latka and Balki going at it. Something will snap in his poor brain and he will spontaneously transform into his wrestling persona, in order to keep the natural order of the universe in place. That being done, Balki proceedes to wipe the floor with Kaufman after he insults Balki's people, saying they are a bunch of hicks, not unlike us prowrestling fans

- They Might Be Matt

Welcome ladies and Gentleman! I am Jim Ross and this is WWF RAW IS WAR! We've got an action packed night planned out for ya, but as you all know ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE WWF! What's this?
Latka's Entrance Music hits
Hello. Sank you very much!
the crowd erupt into wild laughter. Latka attempts to speak, but the crowd chants "sank you very much," demanding Latka continue saying his hilarious catch phrase. At this point, Latka can take no more, and from his back pocket he pulls out his copy of Hamlet and begins to read...
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle. FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO BERNARDO Who's there? FRANCISCO Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself. BERNARDO Long live the king!
Balki's music hits and Latka appears furious at the interruption! Balki begins to speak...
Ya know, week in and week out you stand in the middle of that very ring, and you run your mouth. I for one, have had enough. So tonight, here in Austin Texas, Balki 3:16 is gonna kick your CANDY ASS!
crowd pops! Latka retorts...
You know Balki, I've defeated women three times your size. I don't fight men, which is why tonight I'm going to accept your challenge. However, you will be forced to face myself and a tag team partner of my choosing!
out of the crowd emerges Tony Clifton, legendary Vegas lounge act and aspiring grappler...
Well Mr. Bartokomous, how do you plan on beating both of us?
all of the sudden, the arena is filled with music so majestic, that it must belong to a king. That's when Jerry Lawler appears from behind the Titantron curtain! The two Kaufman characters appear horrified and both urinate themselves at exactly the same instant. Lawler and Balki eradicate their foes, and are so happy with the victory, that they do the Dance of Joy

- The Reverend Freshmaker

of all the episodes of perfect strangers that i remember, there was a problem, balki and larry, and they did "the dance of joy" (tm). they always did the dance of joy as it was some kind of victory dance. of all the episodes of taxi i've ever seen that i remember, latka hides from the INS under a taxi while the others say he's not around. i figure balki gets larry to pretend he's an INS agent, and while latka hides under it, balki drops it on latka, and balki and larry do the "dance of joy" (tm) on latka's broken body

- Mr.Threepwood, pirate wannabe

I don't believe this argument: "Balki, however, hails from the Mediterranean, (...) a veritable who's who of ancient warfare." One of these days, try to find Mediterranean sea (or Europe, for that matter) on the map of the world. You will be surprised to find on its coasts the Mediterraneanmost countries, ITALY and FRANCE! Countries who are known for providing the most cowardly and inept fighters.

On the other hand, Slavs, especially those from the Balkans, have proven to be very sturdy in their wars during the 90's.

Judging from his name, Latka is probably a Baltic German (Estonia, Latvia...) which is even better than being a Slav. I vote against the irritating Mediterranean shepherd Balki.

- Dr. Malaver

UPN ch. 27 Friday 9:00 Loveable Strange Days War breaks out after Latka accidentally breaks Balki's prized collection of lawn gnomes. Can Daphne help them get their knickers out of a twist? Find out on this unforgetable episode of LSD.

- Paul

No question here, Latka in a rout. All he'll have to do is show up in his wedding dress and procede to kick the crap out of Balki. Since Latka *is* wearing a dress, Balki will mistake him for a girl, and thus (as custom dictates he must) refuse to put up a fight. Remember folks: It takes two to fight, but just one to pummel. Now that that's out of the way, will someone please explain who the Hell these people are and tell me what shows they came from?

- The Animator.

There are two factors that put this match in Balki's favor:

1) As soon as Latka gets in front of the micorphone to state his case, he will uncontrolably start reading "The Great Gatsby" or lip- synching to Mighty Mouse. This will only serve to aggrivate the U.N., in essence giving them The Rage(tm).

2) Balki has the power of eighties sitcom writing, where being a fish out of water just means that you're true to yourself. When Balki walks up to the microphone the ABC TGIF music starts playing (otherwise known as the "Hey, you dullards. This is the moral of the damn episode" music).
Balki will explain that Mypos is made up of good people just like his Mama Barktawhatever.

As Latka, with his sad yet blank stare, apologizes to Balki, Mr. Twinkisetti walks by and punches Latka in the face.

- Muchsarcasm a guy very unnerved that he still remembers Mr. Twinkisetti

Even though my heart is firmly in Balki's corner, my brain said "come on, vote for Kauffman, he's dead after all." Eventually I elected to vote for Balki, simply because he was losing.

I have to say this match seems about as lopsided as The Simpsons vs Star Trek (tm) I'm surprised the vote is as close as it is right now, but I'm guessing it's due to the fact that Balki fans are Shameless Vote-Mongers (tm). Where's a Jihad (tm) when you need one?

- slick

Well, anyone with half a brain knows that Grudge Match is won in one of three ways:

1) The RAGE™ (also known to some as Sheer Cantankerousness™). Balki is an enraged Grecian, in the tradition of Alexander the Great or Plato. Latka is an enraged Eastern European guy, in the tradition of Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin. Guess which pair of guys I think is scarier?
2) The Babe Factor™: This is a non-factor here, as neither of these nimrods are associated with any woman you can realy call a "babe". Next!
3) Mentos-Level Coolness™: "Taxi" is pretty cool. In fact, Andy Kaufman has managed to squeeze out for himself a place in American's Collective Conciousness. But who here remembers Perfect Strangers?
(listens to the melodic sounds of the Crickets of Silence™)
Latka before you can say "Okay, Louie!"

- Andy the Anarchist

Who care what the ambassadors and dignitaries are doing? There's a sale on "HotBranch! 3:16" t-shirts in the gift shop.

- Rainwoman

Latka was a weird foriegner who was just not funny. Balki was a weird foriegner at whom I laughed every week, faithfully. No one could beat the Dance of Joy for pure merriment. Besides that Cousin Larry gets to bring pre-wheelchair Christopher Reeves from the set of Nothign On! (Noises Off). Any actor who can survive that show and be Superman is tops in my book. Cousin Larry and Superman break out the Whoop Ass(tm) and open up a case or two on Latka.

- Hatter

If Pat Robertson had won the election, this match could easily have been avoided. If we were real lucky, Patty would have also deported the epileptic coma-inducing sugary sweet punk from Jerry Maguire who also starred opposite Bronson Pinchot in the the mercifully short-lived Meego.

Deport em all and let God sort it out!

- Damn Florida voters...

well guys, i gave this alot of thought, but i'm gonna have to go with Balki for this fight for a number of reasons:
1) Balki was actually much much much funnier that Latka
2)Andy Kaurfman is a really bad comedian, while Bronsehn Princhot is actually pretty talented.
3) Their backup: for Latka... Tony Danza, what's he gonna do... annoy Balki to death... on the other hand... Balki always has his "Cousin Larry" (Mark-Linn Baker) if anyone has THE RAGE, it's him. having to put up with Balki's stupidity and goof up's for so long would make him snap at the drop of a hat.....Balki won't have to raise a finger, he'll just get Larry to strangle Latka with his own intestines!
4) Sitcom factor- Perfect Strangers was hillarious at times.....Taxi sucked. Besides, if Andy Kaufman can't take a woman in a fight, who can?

- Dane "The New Prodigy"

By the end of the match, I really couldn't tell who's who... can I vote for the yaktabe?

- Six Million Dollar Penguin

This is a tough one. Unfortunately I haven't seen enough Taxi episodes to be an expert and it's been years since I've seen Perfect Strangers. So I'll just use wrestling to help me in my decision.

1) Andy is known for humiliating Jerry "the King" Lawler by winning their long rivalry all those years ago. Point for Latka.
2) Edge and Christian once had a conversation that featured the line "And that's why Balki was so totally the perfect stranger!" Edge and Christian are Mentos level cool made flesh. Point for Balki.
3) Balki not only has to contend with Andy Kaufman as Latka but with Bob "Master of Disguise" Zmuda as Latka also. When nobody's looking the two could easily switch places to take out Balki (Wrestler Heel Tactic #359). Point for Latka.
4) As far as I know Balki and Larry never had to wrestle. But they were in the TGIF family. As I recall Urkle and Carl from Family Matters once donned wrestling tights and got their asses handed to them by the Bushwackers. Let that sink in for a second. THE BUSHWACKERS! I award Balki no points and may God have mercy on his soul.

So Latka wins. Because he's the King, he's the King of *cough*cough*cough*! He's the King of Wrestlin' *cough*cough*cough*!

- Gavok

Foolish, nieve Brian. Balki is not "Prone to balking". Balki is short for Balklands a.k.a. The countries that were royaly screwed by the bloodless blood sucking communist. This will not help "Balki" because these countries are too busy purging each other to help their token mascot. Besides, The U.N. allready supports Latka. Therefore, The USA will bomb the shit out of Mypos Which can be found since they know the name of the sheep-shit hole and can look it up on a map. Where the hell is Latka's country?

- PSYCHO JAY I'm Canadian, Thank God.

First of all I would like to point out to Brian that the poles at least had the balls to charge the on coming Panzer divisions with their cavalry, not the greatest war time tactic but sure beats the French one of hiding in a cellar and waiting for the English speaking troops to turn up. Now to explain why I did not vote for either of the contenders.

As Junior is about to be sworn in as the new president he needs to assert himself in the scene of international politics, an area he has been heavily criticised about. Now seeing that Saddam Hussein is reduced to making victory speeches about a war he lost ten years ago and that there aren't that many other dictators to smack round the head like a sore-headed step child, "President Junior" (is it me or could this be the title for the next Hollywood summer block buster staring some Macauly Culkin look alike, scary) is going to have to do something big. The only thing that will make other world leaders respect the man who just loves a "chain gang" is to nuke the U.N. building. This results in immediate surrender by all other nations to the U.S. and a new era of peace and scientific discovery is ushered in, which leads to the end of pollution, famine, and inequality in wealth. Bush jr. is made a Saint by all the world religions and Christmas is moved to coincide with his birthday, and the only @$$ to get whopped in the whole process is that of the new intern (who is mysteriously cured from some cancer after Junior's hand is finished with her bootie).

- Fun For All

Quite simple, The UN is involved, right?.....Well then there is only one possible ending if the Smurf Helmets are involved.....everyone loses. Yeah the UN goes out, sets up a safe haven, and lets the people in the safe haven get shot. Asking the UN to defend people is like asking the French to defend their border against the Germans.

- Amish Commando

You two both forgot something very important. Latka pancakes are the toughest most inedible 'food', next to beef jerky and artichokes, ever developed by man. Nobody from the Meditterainian (TM), where they are used to the godlike power of italian food, could stomach this awful asphalt masquerading as a pancake. My vote goes for Latka as per Grudge Match Rule #738, "A contestant who shares a name or part thereof with a foodstuff declared as Tough (TM) shall gain a one Whoopass bonus to their grudge match score. See also rule #376, Name Association with Mr. T." The Judgement of the lower court is Affirmed.

- The Amazing (Lawyer) Jew

When I see Bronson Pinchot take a piledriver, get clotheslined on Letterman, pick a fight with Michael Richards on live television, fight angry women, trick an audience into believing someone else is him, have a movie made about his life, and fake his death, then perhaps I'll consider voting for him. In the meantime, while I wait for him to do that and build up his own non-existing Jihad, I think I'll vote for Latka. He's got the wrench, after all.

- Infraggable Krunk

"Dubyah" Will support Latka 'cause he has the easier to pronouce name.

- Subliminimabable

DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH!!! Latka would beat that sissy. Are we forgetting Latka worked on taxis in New York City. You know what kind of people ride them things. Walk past one you'll get a contact high from the marijuana and booze and that's just the pleasent stuff. Just imagine fixin'them things. Balki worked in a newspaper office where the biggest danger you'll ever face is a paper cut. Plus Latka's an army general he could have some men of his simply knock on Balki's door with a tank.

- Dennis

You Americaans - veery veird.

- Boba Foot - one of 'em dirty filthy foriegners(tm)

Latka wins because Balki couldn't even take his greedy, pansy assed cousin Larry out, and also because Latka is Andy Kaufman, and any man who would kick the crap out of women and be proud about it is seriously disturbed, and a psycho will always win, ha there, are you guys happy, huh!!! because I thought I wrote a damn good synopsis for Scrooge vs. Grinch and I was snubbed, I want a freaking recount you sick bastards!!!!!!!To add insult to injurie some person wrote in that he got a new playstation for christmas, and somehow that is more worthy of your all high and mighty forum and my excellent deduction of how Monty Burns would kill Scrooge and grinch isn't? YOU GUYS ARE SICK

- Misfit 138

I'm no expert, but your Burns comment probably got dumped since we've covered him already (and that was even a "suggested match" for Scrooge v. Grinch). - Eds.

Two words decide this match: Tony Clifton. Using psychological warfare (aka: a barrage of nonstop insults) that bastard Clifton would leave poor nice guy Balki in such an emotional wreck that he'd end up ceding Mypos to the Palestinians (garnering a Nobel Peace Prize (TM) next year but he's too shell-shocked to go and receive it) and giving himself his own personal exile to someplace saner, like Kosovo or the India-Pakistan border.

- cygnia

On the face of things, I'd have to flip a coin. But, since Andy Kaufman died many years ago, I've only been able to witness one of these combatants in person. Several years ago, during the filming of a -remarkably- bad Stephen King TV Movie, I saw Bronson Pinchot (Balki) in action. For forty-five minutes, he lay still on the floor soaked in faked blood for so long I thought he was a dummy for the first half hour. Any man with that kind of diligence has to have an up on someone without a concept of standing still. It is kind of a shame that his schtick lasted less time than Yakov Smirnov, but, c'est la vie.

- Datsun Q. Wanderer

To decide who will win, you need to think like the contestants. To think like these particular contestants, I went for 16 hours without sleep. At the peak of my sleep deprivation, I realized the following things: 1: "Latka" can be re-arranged to spell "Katal" - a unit of catalytic energy. 2: "Balki" can be re-arranged to spell "kalib" and a quick search of the internet will tell you that Kalib is: "an international network of young professionals with diverse backgrounds, flexible in their organization and interested in facilitating positive change." I will leave you to consider the implications of these facts.

- Albatoo

Factors for Latka: Okay you mention the Slav factor, but you cleverly ignore the fact that Russia is a Slavic nation and they kicked Germany's behind back into Berlin. Also, Latka was in Taxi which also included the guy who plays Zak on Babylon 5. Give me Zak anyday. So Latka would win.

- Whatever....

Quoth Balki Bartokomous: "Travelers have told our people stories of burning, pillowing, and rapping--" Ha ha, I just got the weirdest image of Latka wearing gold chains and sunglasses, talking about how he's going to bust a cap in Balki's sorry Myposian ass. However, rappers don't have the world's greatest survival rate (right Biggie?), and they can't seem to stop getting arrested (right Puffy?) so I figure it's only a matter of time before Balki pops one in him, or he gets tossed into the nearest correctional facility for causing chaos at a UN meeting.

- My name is Kenny

...Nobody has mentioned the Mypos Dance of Joy (TM). This would definitely give an extra advantage to Balki in the footwork department.

However, I can absolutely guarantee that Hollywood will never cast a twenty-million-dollar-per-movie-Jim-Carrey-type to blay Balki in a feature-length movie.

In this match, Latka wins.

And in this case, the possibility of Latka's Scottish heritage is enough to swing his win from a tidy victory to a Dirty Lickin' (TM). Myposian blood everywhere...

- Kirbstomp

Dude, this is TOTAL heinocity. How dare you even ASSUME Latka can lose? Seriously, we've got Balki NooneknowswhoIamavich and the CASPARIAN WONDER, MASTER OF MECHANICS, LAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTKAAAAAAAAAAA GRAAAAAAAAVAAAAAAAAAAS!!!!!!!!! I don't even know who PLAYED this Balki character. Looks like Bob Sagat. And lemme tell ya, when comes to Bob "Show Video Of Guy Kicked In Nuts while I Say a Stupid Joke" Sagat and Andy "Comedic Legend & Wrestling Great" Kaufman, my money's on the man with the bongos. GO LATKA! GO!

- Devin The Mental Hospital Escapee, running out of Brendan Jokes...

I've gotta go with Balki on this one. Why? Because Andy Kaufman had this habit of picking fights with people who can, and do, kick his ass. 'Nuff said.

- Lou the Inscrutible

Let's see. Both are idiots Even Both are extremely annoying. Even However, you don't mess with a NY cabbie or their mechanics. They are almost as bad as the NYPD. Both John Travolta™ and Bruce Willis™ were cabbies as well, truly great advantages that only succumb to the evil power of Disney™. Just having Danny Devito as his boss will be enough to give Latka the Rage™. Once you throw in Devito's twin brother, Ahhnold™ and Rhea Perlman (aka the waitress from hell™), Balki doesn't stand a chance. Balki has a sterling reputation and has been established to be extremely honest, and will assuredly be out of place in the roach infested, back stabbing, pool of degeneracy known as the political arena™. On the other hand, Latka has married a prostitute, babbles incoherently about his talents, rents penthouse apartments he can't afford, wants to meddle in the affairs of foreign countries, tries to sell addictive "cookies", lives a double life based on Playboy™, steals bookings from his co-workers, competes with himself for women, personally knows Dr. Joyce Brothers, and has been known to have affairs with co-workers. Grease monkeys by their very nature have what it takes to get down and dirty™. Latka should fit right in with the politicians. He could easily be our next President™.

- Topcat

Latka is dead. Dead celebrities become heroes. Balki's career is dead. Living celebrities with dead careers are just sad.

- Tirdun

The next Mediterranean delegate to speak is far from unbiased.
"I must give an all-embracing endorsement to my distant cosin Balki!" bursts Roberto Benigni. (You knew they had to be related, didn't you?)
"Big deal!" interrupts Latka. "Italy's military is the only one in the world that is even more pathetic than France's!"
"Your point is mute!" retorts Roberto with a great waving of hands as he continues. "... since Ambassador Gravas is a mere renegade general, while Delegate Bartokomous is an heir to the crown of Mypos..."
"Actually, Cosin, so are all the other men of Mypos," points out Balki timidly, "and some of the older women with moustaches."
"Your honesty is commendable, Balki," mutters Bush Jr.-appointed U.S. Ambassador Gorpley, "but that still out-ranks a rebel general here."

While everyone else is distracted by these last diplomatic discussions, Latka rushes the Myposian chair. UN security guards quickly block his way, but they prove no more effective than the teams defending civilian convoys and "safe zones" in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda...

Fortunately, Delegate Bartokomous does not need help. Once, a huge escaped convict named "Mad Dog" invaded the cabin where the "Perfect Strangers" crowd was staying, and it was Balki who downed him, other "eyewitless accounts" notwithstanding. He should thus do well against even an enraged Slav. This "peacekeeping mission" gives the other delegates time to reflect. Except for those still showing dubbed "Taxi" re-runs, many nations confuse the series with "Taxi Driver," a film indelibly linked to Hinckley's assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. While that wins silent sympathy from countries that the Great Communicator's administration "trickled-down" upon, most don't want to offend his modern counterpart (newly-sort-of-elected President Shrub) this early either, so they feel obligated to reject anything related to that movie. (Since U.S. films now earn the majority of their grosses overseas, this is the real reason that "Hannibal" will not star Jodie Foster.) A resolution siding against the aggressor's faction passes, as the brawl winds to a close.

- Matt Bricker

Well, we should look at the extenuating circumstances here. Balki never made to the big screen, unlike Balki. And if Balki did make it to Tinsletown, he'd end up being played by some washed up actor like Bronson Pinchot, not one of the highest paid actors in the biz. The fact that Latka can made it in Hollywood means he can make it anywhere, especially stepping over the likes of Balki to get there. Balki's gonna end up sheep fodder.

- Ken'

From the home offices in Westfield, New Jersey, the Top Ten Reasons Why the Latka-Balki Fight Will Stink:

10: Latka's swinging alter-ego Vic will be too squeamish about getting his pretty face bruised to mix it up properly.
9. Enough people have already whupped on Bronson Pinchot for making Meego.
8. Carol Kane could take them both.
7. Louie DePalma probably bribed one of them to take a dive so he could clean up with his bookie.
6. If either of their countries were worth anything, we would have bombed them years ago.
5. Mark Linn-Baker could take them both.
4. Unless you have a doctorate in Eastern European languages, you won't understand a word of the trash-talking.
3. Speaking of which, both their languages' curses sound lamer than Klingon curses ... and you know Star Trek's reputation around here.
2. I could take them both.

And the Number One Reason Why the Latka-Balki Match Will Stink:

1: Who cares what happens at the U.N.?

- Call me Shane

Battle of the accents? Would Balki win? OF COURSE NOT! DONT BE RIDICULOUS! I mean who's gonna back up Balki? His Cousin Larry, that tubby BITCH! Look who Latka's got in his corner. Alex Reger-- Pontificating Jew. If he doesnt moralize Balki to death he can suck him into his nose. Louie DePalma-- Crazed Midget. Has ample RAGE. Ankle biting skills proven. SEE MINI-ME for further reference. Tony-- Thuggish Italian. Boxer. Obviously a mob enforcer skilled at breaking thumbs. He'll show them Who's the Boss. Ohhhhhh yeah Balkis day of reckoning has begun! Lets just hope for Latkas sake he doesnt call in a Beverly Hills Cop. Now that'd be Perfectly Strange...

- Kenneth E. Carper

As the two square off each looking to lock on their TM-worthy moves: Latka's patented Castilarrr Claw, Balki the dreaded Mypos Driver, someone cranks up the UN's sound system. "THE HEAT IS (POW! POW! POW! POW!) ON!" An as-yet-unknown man enters in a high school letter jacket "I'm looking for tansvestite hookers, seen any? Heahhh Heahhh Heahh" Balki: Aquel Foliiiiiii!!! I neeeeds yer healp to deespatch das roofian!! and then... "Prince Akeem! We are not allowed to take part in such is bad for Zamunda!" shouts a man on a plush couch in a corner. Balki: Whoos iz zis udda gui? Latka: I sink it is de 1-800-Collect main. "I am Semi, bodygaurd, protector, and failed talk-show host" Latka (nodding wildly): Noooooo! ACK!! BURN THE BABY!!! BURN THE BABY!!! (at the same time, the author of such nonesense suffered a horrendous psychotic break, lapses into a dissociative fugue and the ficticious peril was no more)

- Akhamed -- wishes he didn't know all of this shit, really.


What!? No obscure references to the sacred, holy, (and increasingly popular in most Suburbian, American-homes) Dance of Joy!? A Pox on thee!

- Saru-kun (for the Japanese-Impaired, Roughly translated, Saru-kun means "Monkey Boy")

"Dance of Joy" was actually on my List of Things to Mention™, but I slipped. A thousand pardons.
-- Brian

If you liked this match, check out these other past matches:

Rev. Jim Ignatowski v. Cosmo Kramer
Pee-Wee Herman v. Gilligan
French Army v. English Soccer Hooligans

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Next Match: Can't you see I'm burning, burning?
ETA: Monday, January 29th, 2001

© 2001, Dragon Hamster Productions, LLC