“Jim and Andy”: Hilarious yet strangely touching

GABI HUTSON

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The long awaited documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – With a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” has hit netflix nearly 20 years after the release of “Man on the Moon”. Jim Carrey famously method acted as Andy Kaufman for “Man on the Moon” and while the movie was in filming, Carrey’s behavior on set was widely discussed almost rather scandalously.

Though I had previously never seen “Man On The Moon”, I was still interested in the documentary  because how could you not be tempted by seeing Jim Carrey lose his mind whilst being possessed by the spirit of another. An even more outlandish comedian. He discusses being swallowed by his character. How he really was not present in the time of filming. In the footage everyone refers to him only as Andy and you have to make a special request to talk to Jim. Seeing him not only act but live as Andy is oddly fascinating especially because you can tell that Carrey truly is convinced that he is Kaufman. In the first few minutes of the film, Carrey expresses that when he got the role he felt Andy’s presence come to him and say “Move over I’m doing my movie”. Watching all the footage, it isn’t hard to believe that Jim Carrey is truly possessed by the spirit of Andy Kaufman.

You’re probably thinking, “oh it can’t get any crazier than being possessed by a comedian.” Well,  yes it can because try being possessed by a comedian’s alter ego! Andy Kaufman had an alter ego by the name of Tony Clifton. A big fat Vegas lounge singer who is more than just obnoxious. Carrey’s antics as Clifton are incomparable to anything he does as Andy. He truly wreaks havoc on absolutely everything and for added authenticity, he even gets blackout (or at least does a stellar job at acting to be) drunk. When asked about if he was actually intoxicated on set Carrey’s response is simply “I don’t remember,” just to give an idea of how into is character he was.

Beyond just the hilarity of Carrey’s antics the documentary is strangely touching. Seeing as the documentorers were Kaufman’s girlfriend till his death, Lynne Margulies, and long time friend and skit writer Bob Zumuda. They gained an attachment to Carrey as they express how he is “just like Andy”. Even Kaufman’s own family, who visited the set, felt as if they were reunited with him and got to give a last goodbye to their lost love one. In between laughing fits, I would find myself tearing up over the love and appreciation expressed for the late Kaufman and of course, for Carrey who was able to bring him back to life, at least for a little while.

Carrey himself even opens up to share about himself as a person not just a character which adds another layer of emotion. Hearing about Carrey’s struggle as a young man before his fame is something so heart wrenchingly inspiring, it gave me a newfound level of love and respect for him. Up until recently, Jim Carrey has always been seen as an overall joke and just plain goofball. But the insight to him as a person and his life struggles and losses humanizes him. Often something deemed as impossible for a celebrity but a feat met by Carrey’s candor of life in his sit down style interview commentary.