Seeing Double: Jim Carrey ~ Andy Kaufman

Man on the Moon, the much-anticipated film biography of Andy Kaufman, stars Jim Carrey as the legendary comic. Danny de Vito, one of Kaufman’s Taxi co-stars, also appears in Man on the Moon and says that Carrey’s performance is nothing short of remarkable. It is as if Kaufman were reborn in Carrey.

Is Carrey’s chillingly accurate portrayal of Kaufman a tribute to his phenomenal talent, or might there be more—shall we say, cosmic—reasons for the similarities in the two? Amazingly enough, Kaufman and Carrey share a birthday, January 17. Kaufman, born in 1949, is thirteen years older than Carrey.

Sun in Capricorn: The Quest for Perfection

Both Kaufman and Carrey knew early in life that they wanted to be on stage. At age seven, Kaufman began performing for family and friends, and by age eight he was being hired to entertain at birthday parties. Carrey, the youngest of four, was the family clown and reportedly submitted a resume to the Carol Burnett Show when he was ten.

This determination is typical of their common Sun sign, Capricorn. These folks are the master builders of the zodiac, planning and executing their grand designs. They are the architects of everything from great families to great fortunes. They possess the ambition to succeed, the natural savvy to know how and the indomitable spirit necessary to achieve greatness.

Just as the goat that symbolizes Capricorn is a natural climber, both comedians began their careers in comedy clubs where they honed their craft and climbed to the top of a very competitive profession. Capricorns demand excellence from themselves, and these two performers are no exception. Both are noted for their impeccable impersonations: Kaufman of fellow Capricorn Elvis Presley, and Carrey of Jimmy Stewart and Gandhi.

Mercury in Aquarius: The Mark of Genius

In addition to the same Sun sign, Kaufman and Carrey also share a common placement of Mercury (communication) in Aquarius (inventive and independent). Both possess a flare for the unconventional and have dared to be different. After all, who else but Carrey would risk taking the role of butt-talking Ace Ventura? Who else but Kaufman would read vacuously from The Great Gatsby until being drowned out by the ensuing brouhaha of the audience?

Mercury in Aquarius is naturally witty, talkative and candid, sometimes to a fault. Reportedly, the only way Carrey’s seventh grade teacher could keep him under control was to allow him fifteen minutes at the end of each day for improvisation. Kaufman’s forays into the late-night talk show scene, most notably with David Letterman, were notoriously outrageous.

The signs Capricorn and Aquarius are both ruled by the planet Saturn, the great timekeeper, and it might be this innate sense of timing that helps to produce the comic genius of a Kaufman or a Carrey. Whether it is Kaufman as Latka Gravas or Carrey as the Riddler, inner discipline and natural rhythm is the key to their brilliance.

Sun Quincunx Uranus: Shock Value

There is another astrological trait that Kaufman and Carrey share that helps to describe their originality and their often confrontational natures: Sun Quincunx Uranus. The quincunx (150 degrees) aspect is concerned with adjustments, and the combination of Sun and Uranus in quincunx indicates a conflict between social acceptance and individuality.

Kaufman, whose Uranus is in Gemini, is often considered to be more of a performance artist than a comedian and became infamous when he ventured into inter-gender mud wrestling. The Sun/Uranus type wants to reach you on the gut level and strives to challenge your most deeply held beliefs.

Carrey, with Uranus in Leo, grabbed attention as Fire Marshall Bill, the lone white guy on the TV series In Living Color, who always went up in flames. The sketch was eventually pulled when critics claimed it encouraged children to play with fire. Kaufman and Carrey are both the type of performer that you either love or hate, which is a typical reaction to this astrological aspect.

A Moon/Pluto Connection: A Tie that Binds

Besides the shared traits of their individual horoscopes, there may be one more astrological reason for Carrey’s ability to successfully transform himself into Kaufman. Carrey’s Pluto, the planet associated with transformation and depth, is in the exact same degree of Virgo as Kaufman’s Moon (our emotions and reactive personality). This combination gives Carrey the insight into what made Kaufman tick.

Pluto can also trigger obsessions, and Carrey reportedly was always deeply “in character” both on and off the set during the filming of Man on the Moon. He even went so far as to request separate trailers for “Andy Kaufman” and “Tony Clifton,” Kaufman’s sleazy alter ego. Years before, Kaufman made similar demands from the producers of Taxi. Finally, there’s one more eerie parallel: Carrey injured his neck while filming a scene with the same professional wrestler who once put Kaufman in a neck brace!

Casting Genius or Destiny?

Many fabulous actors vied for the role of Andy Kaufman, including Nicholas Cage, Kevin Spacey and Edward Norton, but none of them could bring to the part what Carrey would. To put it simply, he was born for it!

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