I saw Kaufman at a small comedy club called the Metro in Forest Hills, Queens long before he became famous. What he was was brilliant and had the most amazing act anyone had seen.
Not one "line" or joke, but he had us all rolling in the aisles and we couldn't explain what was so funny.
It sounds silly to describe it, and the phrase "you hadda be there" was made for this...
He started by playing the Mighty Mouse theme on a portable record player. Then he did some pantomime to the music as we were trying to figure out what he was up to. Eventually, he knew exactly when we were just ready to walk out or start grumbling and he went on into a long story about how he was quitting show biz since it wasn't working out. The more he talked, the more hysterical we got, and the more hysterical we got, the more morose and fatalistic he got. It went on until we were all out of breath.
It took true genius to pull that off.
And maybe it takes true genius to pull off a disappearance. Or maybe not.