Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999).A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999).A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999).
Until I made the concerted effort to actually watch Taxi just a few days before watching this documentary, I had no real perspective as to what Andy Kaufman's purported comedy was like outside of Carrey's depiction in the film.
Then, I hated Latka Gravas with a passion, rolled my eyes every time he was on the screen. By proxy, I hated Kaufman for pulling people's legs for so long by putting on the guise of a genius.
But at the same time, when you put Andy, Tony, Latka, and Jim in the same room, you understand...and you understand the genius. But you can't recognize Andy unless you see the heart that Jim put into his depiction.
My mother hates Jim Carrey. She says he ruined my adolescence because I channeled him too much in my humor. I still do. She just barely notices anymore, because it's too deep in there.
This documentary, which I stumbled upon by accident while looking for reviews of Jim's performance as Andy, moved me in a way that I can't describe. There were times when I had to hold myself back from tearing up. I *understood* them. I knew exactly where they were coming from. I was there too. Since 15 I had my own Tony Clifton that I was too afraid to show people in real life, so I let him manifest online amongst my high school friends. Now, at 37, I wish I had brought him out to real life.
Jim Carrey is phenomenally philosophical and emotional in this documentary. Seeing this side of his humanity is humbling, and the fact that he was Andy...it wasn't a role, he really was Andy...you couldn't have asked for any better. Every single thing he did, from taunting Milos Forman to getting into real fisticuffs with Jerry Lawler. It was bizzare, creepy, cringeworthy, but tear-jerking and heartfelt all the same. Jim Carrey understood. Way before he was Andy Kaufman, he was Andy Kaufman, and when you put those factors together, you'll understand that shift that happened in Jim's life after 'Man on the Moon.' You see his fragility fully embodied, you relate to his thought process, you can understand why Hollywood snubs him and why the public derides him for supposedly going off the edge in recent years. He deserved the Oscar in 1999, and the Academy owes him to take it away from the winner and declare him the rightful one.
There is another side to humanity that both Andy and Jim have visited. They now both occupy that same structure, albeit in different apartments...but they're there. Other artists should break out of their comfort zones and call that real estate agent. Or maybe in the age of junk food entertainment, of faux artistry, of Cardi B and Kim Kardashian, he's dead too.
- Aug 19, 2020