Why would someone so gentle-natured and sensitive build an entire career seeking the hatred of his audience? What drives a performer to solicit that reaction? With the same nuance and sympathy with which he approached Andre the Giant in his 2014 biography, graphic novelist Box Brown takes on the complex and often hilarious life of Andy Kaufman.
Andy Kaufman…what do you really know about this guy? What is he really like?
I certainly didn’t know too much about him. All I knew were 1. he was a strange comedian; 2. he was on Taxi; and 3. he died very young. In Is This Guy for Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman, Box Brown explores this eccentric comedian and the things that inspired him to take on the various personas in his comedy acts.
A native Brooklynite-turned-suburban commuter deemed the quintessential New Yorker, Roz Chast has always been intensely alive to the glorious spectacle that is Manhattan–the daily clash of sidewalk racers and dawdlers; the fascinating range of dress codes; and the priceless, nutty outbursts of souls from all walks of life.
For Chast, adjusting to life outside the city was surreal–(you can own trees!? you have to drive!?)–but she recognized that the reverse was true for her kids. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange visual world of Manhattan–its blackened sidewalk gum-wads, “those West Side Story-things” (fire escapes)–and its crazily honeycombed systems and grids.
Told through Chast’s singularly zany, laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons, Going Into Town is part New York stories (the “overheard and overseen” of the island borough), part personal and practical guide to walking, talking, renting, and venting–an irresistible, one-of-a-kind love letter to the city.
♪ New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
The lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York. ♪