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Wednesday, July 17

Andy Kaufman "Andy & His Grandmother" Pitchfork 7.2

Andy Kaufman's Andy & His Grandmother LP/CD on Drag City received a Pitchfork 7.2 rating today - I wonder what Tony Clifton would think?

"...this is a record of provocation. It's also probably one of the most clear-eyed accounts of the 'real' Andy Kaufman in existence, a serious feat considering his notoriously slippery relationship with what most of us call reality. The candidness here can be startling, even by 2013 standards. A track called 'Slice of Life' has Kaufman talking to one of the many women he bedded while on tour in the late 70s. 'We just screwed and here's the afterward conversation,' he announces, before continuing: 'It didn't look to me like you were enjoying it that much.' But this isn't laugh-out-loud funny. It's unflinching. He asks her, 'What happens if you got a baby?' to which the unnamed woman responds, 'I'll hop a plane to Toronto and get a little abortion.' Naturally, she asks for him to turn off the tape (there's an entire track here devoted to the voices of people requesting-- often in an incensed tone-- for Kaufman to 'shut that off') but he's adamant: 'Why is it that nobody understands that the kind of conversations that nobody wants me to tape are the kind of conversations that should be taped?' It's the sort of philosophy that runs through the work of many great comedians, from Woody Allen to Louis C.K., laid perfectly bare, without the filter of a camera lens, script, or stand-up routine."

"At one point during the album, a wronged woman lashes out at Kaufman in a particularly discombobulated-- but not inaccurate-- manner: 'You think that I really don't know when you goof on me, and you think that I really don't know, and really I know, and you know that I really know, but you say I don't know.' These are the mental hoops this one-of-a-kind performance artist would force people to go through on a regular basis, whether onstage or in front of his tiny personal recorder. It's why he still resonates and fascinates in our world of meta-this and post-that, why anyone would care about a collection of cobbled together personal recordings from an enigma who's been dead for nearly three decades. Based on Andy and His Grandmother, Kaufman comes off like an asshole, a hopelessly naive loser, a crazy person, a hothead, a hopelessly sweet grandma's boy, a sexually confused teenager, and a manipulative monster. In other words, he comes off like Andy Kaufman."

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