Andy Kaufman loved his Grandmother’s! Andy Kaufman loved Thanksgiving.
The blue sweatshirt he wore - - after taking layers and layers of clothing off, after his Elvis impersonation, which followed a woeful foreign man - - was no joke. He really loved his Grammas.
Andy’s Grandfather’s had a profound effect on Andy.
Andy’s maternal Grandfather, Papu Cy, was sweet, gentle and unconditionally loving. Cy’s daughter Janice, Andy’s “mommy”, inherited the same loving ways. Andy was immersed in love from his family; this nurturing gave Andy a solid base which helped him handle a difficult showbiz industry.
Grandpa Paul, Andy’s paternal grandfather, was the original ham, kibitzer, prankster. He passed down much of these qualities to his son Stanley, Andy’s father. Many more of these qualities skipped a generation and went directly to Andy. At Andy’s Bar Mitzvah reception, held where Paul was a member of a posh snobby stodgy country club, over 100 of the male golfer’s golf shoes got intentionally rearranged so that none were matched with their mate. Andy’s friends were blamed, but it was Paul who had committed the prank.
The grandfathers each died over 20 years before their respective spouses. Thus, it was the grandmothers who received Andy’s adult love. Andy poured it on. He surprised them with a TV, recliner chair, bringing them on radio and TV shows, and choosing to spend time with them showing his love for them and getting plenty of unconditional love back. Andy said to his brother: “Michael, there’s nothing like a Grandmother’s love. All they do is love you. There’s nothing else. Just pure love. Not the other stuff that a parent has to do.”
Grandma Pearl’s birthday was November 25; Thanksgiving time. Andy always made it home for Thanksgiving, no matter what he was working on, or where he was. Even before he was famous, he would go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, often bringing his sister, Carol. He loved watching the Rockettes. In 1979, he had one of many dreams come true: he had his own float in the parade and insisted that his sister and brother join him on the float. In 1983 the Rockettes appeared in his sold out Carnegie Hall show.
Andy always tried to sneak in to the party inside Macy’s after the parade. In 1979 he was invited. While he was on the elevator going to the party, Andy had a chocolate sweet. When asked why he wasn’t eating his favorite, chocolate…the reply was “a fan gave it to me. What if they don’t like me; could be poisonous?” Not missing a beat, his brother, who also loved chocolate, chimed in: “Then I’ll eat it – it’ll be safe -- he doesn’t even know me.”
Grandma Pearl was turning 80 in 1979. Andy was booked to play at Kutshers that weekend, but only accepted if he could bring his entire family as part of Grandma Pearl’s birthday celebration. The Kutsher’s crowd hated Andy, hated the wrestling, hated the family being brought up on stage to perform their “talent” night, a tradition they had been doing for several years on Thanksgiving at home, 21 Grassfield Rd.