Album Reviews

Andy Kaufman: Andy And His Grandmother (Drag City)

Andy-Kaufman

 

 

Andy Kaufman was a troublemaker, a clown, a goof, a prankster, a cretin, a curious mind, and, most importantly, a genius. This compilation, Andy And His Grandmother,  is a collection of some of the best of the reported  thousands of hours of his recorded conversations, dialogues, and experiments.  As you listen through the numerous and often brief slices of life–from fights with his grandmother, to fights with a cop, to conversations with himself, and conversations with hookers and groupies–one thing becomes abundantly clear: Andy Kaufman wasn’t always on, the weirdo he presented himself as being was really him. It is from that realization that one realizes that Andy And His Grandmother has accomplished something downright impossible: it has proven that a man who became thought of as a pretentious weirdo had no pretension whatsoever. Some of these tapes are hilarious, while some of the recordings are utterly, utterly sad–the relationship fights entitled “[Honk] vs [Dog]”–phone calls at 4 in the morning to his girlfriend about his cheating, and then a fight between the two women, which then results in conversations about how his girlfriend should beat up the other woman. If it’s a put-on, it’s one of the most disturbing put-ons you’ll ever hear. If it’s not a put-on, it’s an utterly human moment, and an oddly touching one. Kaufman was a funny man, but he was human, and while some of these things will make you laugh, others will make you think, and a few will make you tear up and turn off the record.  Andy And His Grandmother is humanity in its purest form: good, bad, ugly, beautiful, real.

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