Is Andy still goofing us?
Andy Kaufman is not dead; he will forever live on in our minds, our Youtube videos, the few movies he made, the over 100 episodes of the television show Taxi, and now a CD release of micro-cassette recordings Kaufman made in the late-70s.
Andy and His Grandmother (Drag City, 7/16) captures the mindset of Kaufman right when he started to click. Edited from over 80 hours of tape this comedy recording shows that Andy was always goofing. Goofing his relatives, his girlfriends, his pals, us, himself, the list goes on. “Andy are you goofing on Elvis?”
There’s always that side of me that wants AK to have faked his death (and Elvis too for that matter). The height of irony is the last cut “I Want Those Tapes.” We hear Andy and another voice musing on the possibilities of faking his death with Andy proclaiming that he intends to fake his demise every month without letup. Death will become so routine that when I finally do die nobody will believe it, Andy exclaims.
Is Andy’s girlfriend in on the joke when he talks about the sex they just had? (I like to fuck with her legs closed too.) Is Kaufman’s grandmother really that put off by his recording their banter? Another couple of cuts unwind phone messages and conversations with and about two ex-girlfriends, and it’s not pretty or nice. It’s a testament to his talent that after the 80s Andy never really went for the easy sex jokes that he excels with here.
If you’re an Andy Kaufman completest this is an easy sell. If you’ve never heard about AK, and that’s possible since he died 29 years ago, you’re in for a world of laughter. If you’ve never heard of Andy Kaufman I am kind of jealous of you because you’ve yet to watch the video of his joke appearance with Jerry Lawler on Dave Letterman, not to mention his other television gags, or even the feature film made about his life Man On the Moon (with Jim Carrey as Andy). The general sense of zaniness that Kaufman exuded comes once in a lifetime
– Michael Bergeron