For decades now, the debate has raged on: is comedy even really funny? Leading authorities in the discipline, such as Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon, and of course the last 15 years’ worth of Simpsons episodes, have argued fastidiously (albeit somewhat pedantically) that it is not. But if that’s the case, how does one account for guys like Andy Kaufman, a man SO FUNNY that people even thought it was a joke when he up-and-died in 1984! Hahahaha! LOL! You know, now that you mention it, though, that doesn’t seem so funny to me. Huh.
Anyway, Kaufman blazed one heck of a trail in his campaign to promote comedy’s funniness to be sure, but one of the things he never actually got around to was putting out a comedy record. Luckily, he did record a bunch of shit on the newfangled micro-cassette tapes that he reportedly carried around with him all over the place from 1977-79, accruing some 82 hours of “put-ons, falsehoods and other provocations” and “pushing the limit on logic and emotional investment in everyday situations from the trivial to the deeply personal until any suspension of disbelief is out of the question for all involved, and everyone becomes fully immersed in whatever scenario Andy is suggesting as the new reality.” Wait a minutes, that kinda doesn’t sound funny at all. Sounds intense and awkward… ahhh, which maybe… is why it’s so FUNNY! Right?
Right! And leave it to the hilarious bunch at Chicago’s Drag City label to cull through those tapes and release the best of that never-before-heard stuff on a new album, Andy and His Grandmother, that they’re releasing on July 16. With the help of expert writer, producer, and comedian Vernon Chatman (South Park, Wonder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel, The Heart She Holler, Doggie Fizzle Televizzle, and previous Drag City DVD Final Flesh) and editor Rodney Ascher (director of Room 237), all that “stuff” got magically whittled, shaped, produced, and transmuted into something better than stuff: “stuff for sale.” Isn’t that hilarious? Sounds like comedy’s funniness is about to make a comeback. SNL’s Bill Hader provides narration, and liner notes are provided by Chatman and Kaufman associate Bob Zmuda. Now I’m really rolling on the floor and laughing. Are you?
Andy And His Grandmother tracklisting:
01. Andy Is Making A Record
02. Andy And His Grandmother
03. Andy’s Land Live
04. Andy Loves His Tape Recorder
05. Slice Of Life
06. Andy Goes To the Movies
07. Kick In the Pants
08. Andy Can Talk to Animals
09. I’m Not Capable Of Having A Relationship
11. Andy And His Grandmother Go For A Drive
12. Sleep Comedy
13. [HONK] vs. [DOG] A
14. [HONK] vs. [DOG] B
15. Andy Goes For A Taxi Ride
16. Andy’s English Friend Paul
17. I Want Those Tapes