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Movie-A-Day #17: Man on the Moon (1999).

January 17, 2011

In a world full of stand-up comedians, Andy Kaufman was a performance artist. His brilliant body of work was dada at its best, but it was also widely misunderstood in his own time. He pushed the boundaries of comedy by playing off the honest reactions of unsuspecting bystanders to create hilariously awkward absurdities. Modern wannabes like Sasha Baron Cohen are pale imitations. He would’ve been 62 years old today. (That’s assuming you’re among those who believe his death wasn’t just another performance art stunt.)

Today is also the 49th birthday of another stand-up comedian, Jim Carrey, who played Kaufman in the 1999 biopic “Man on the Moon.” Carrey isn’t half the comedic mind that Kaufman was, but he does manage to give one of his better film performances in this one.

Happy birthday, Andy and Jim!

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