''Man on the Moon'' (1999) is a {{Biopic}} of Creator/AndyKaufman, directed by [[Creator/MilosForman Miloš Forman]], written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and {{titled after the song}} by Music/{{REM}}. It is the third and final installment of Alexander and Karaszewksi's "anti-great man" trilogy, following ''Film/EdWood'' and ''Film/ThePeopleVsLarryFlynt'', the latter of which was also directed by Forman.

The bulk of the film chronicles Andy's rise to stardom via the comedy club circuit and ''Series/{{Taxi}}'' in TheSeventies, and the fall he suffers in TheEighties as his eccentric acts become harder for those who care about him -- much less audiences -- to understand, much less embrace. Acknowledging its use of ArtisticLicense upfront (and building a CreditsGag upon it), the film pivots upon Creator/JimCarrey's performance as Andy and his ''many'' alter-egos.

In 2017, the documentary ''Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond'' was released on Creator/{{Netflix}}, showing behind-the-scenes footage of Carrey [[MethodActing staying in character]] all through the production of this film - even to the point of getting into a real scrap with Wrestling/JerryLawler.

If you're looking for a similarly-named trope in which the moon is depicted as having a face, [[TheManInTheMoon look here.]]


!![[Main/{{Tagline}} "Hello, my name is Andy and these are my tropes"]]:

* ActuallyPrettyFunny: In a GallowsHumor moment, Andy starts laughing during PsychicSurgery, realizing that it was as fake as his {{Kayfabe}} comedy act.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness:
** Jim Carrey is a ''lot'' more conventionally attractive than the RealLife Andy Kaufman, even with a few warts.
** Creator/PaulGiamatti as well. No offense to Zmuda but he's not an attractive man in the least.
* AnachronismStew: A ''[[VideoGame/PacMan Ms. Pac-Man]]'' machine in the late 1970s. (The published early draft of the script specified ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders'', which would have been more accurate.)
* AsHimself: Wrestling/JerryLawler, Wrestling/JimRoss, Budd Friedman, Creator/DavidLetterman, Creator/LorneMichaels, Richard Belzer, Randall Carver, Jeff Conaway, Marilu Henner, Judd Hirsch, Creator/ChristopherLloyd, Carol Kane, and J. Alan Thomas all play late 1970s/early 1980s versions of themselves.
** Notably subverted in that one regular character who didn't appear in the ''Series/{{Taxi}}'' scenes was Louie [=DePalma=], played by Danny [=DeVito=]; this is due to CelebrityParadox (see below).
** Also missing is Creator/TonyDanza who refused to appear due to a long standing dislike for Kaufman. Ditto Creator/MichaelRichards, who was involved in the infamous ''Saturday Night Live'' incident.
* ArtisticLicense: The biggest use of it is moving his legendary Carnegie Hall show to shortly before his death in 1984 -- in RealLife it was in 1979, at the peak of his mainstream success.
** Also, using Wrestling/JimRoss as the announcer in Memphis, when he was working for "Cowboy" Bill Watts's Mid-South Wrestling in Louisiana/Oklahoma at the time, because Ross and Wrestling/JerryLawler were the main announce team for Wrestling/{{WWE}} at the time the movie was produced. Similarly, using a "Global Wrestling Federation" banner. The Lawler-Kaufman match was held by the Continental Wrestling Federation in Memphis, TN in 1982. The Global Wrestling Federation was a Dallas, TX promotion that existed from 1991-1994.
** When the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' call-in segment aired to vote Kaufman to stay or leave, the film showed it presented by Lorne Michaels. In reality, Lorne had left ''SNL'' years earlier, and the segment was hosted by Gary Kroeger.
** The Tony Clifton incident happened during the first year before Creator/ChristopherLloyd became a regular.
** Andy and Lynn did not meet in the wrestling ring.
** The film shows his ''Fridays'' stunt as a real reaction by Kaufman who didn't want to do drug-related humor, even telling the audience that the sketch was ''not'' staged. According to multiple sources from the show, it actually was (though who all was in on it is up for debate), plus the scene as shown differs significantly from what the sketch, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN5vhvIAqY8 available on [[=YouTube=]]]], actually looked like.
** This film ignores Kaufman's short-lived but infamous big screen career. It pretends ''Film/HeartBeeps'', among other films, never happened. Apparently he spent his entire 80's career being a wrestler and getting cancer.
* {{Biopic}}
* TheCameo: Creator/PattonOswalt, nearly unrecognizable in a long blonde wig and mustache, as one of the people Andy serves as a restaurant waiter.
* CelebrityParadox:
** Creator/DannyDeVito was fascinated by Andy's relationship with his agent George Shapiro and wanted to play that role from the beginning -- not realizing that this would come up where ''Series/{{Taxi}}'' was concerned. Once the dilemma was recognized, the solution was not to include Louie De Palma (and thus, [=DeVito=]) in the recreations of the show. To help make up for this and Tony Danza's choice not to participate, Christopher Lloyd and Carol Kane appear in these scenes despite not joining the series as regulars until after the Tony Clifton incident that the ''Taxi''-related stretch of the film ends on.
** Jim Ross plays Lance Russell during the Memphis wrestling scenes. While never showing up in the film, Ross at that time had already begun his career as an announcer, working in the Mid-South promotion in Lousiana/Oklahoma.
** PlayedForLaughs in-universe as he {{Troll}}s an audience for thinking they were watching him playing Tony Clifton. The audience isn't amused, though they ''technically'' got what they paid for: Tony Clifton's act and to see Andy Kaufman.
* CharacterAsHimself: Tony Clifton. (Also, Howdy Doody.)
* CompositeCharacter: Lynne Marguiles (played by Music/CourtneyLove) was Andy's late-in-life girlfriend -- they met in 1983 -- and becomes a composite of his many girlfriends over the years here, meeting Andy at the turn of TheEighties when she volunteers to wrestle him.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: After a college crowd ticks him off by demanding he do his Latka routine, Kaufman uses up his entire set by reading ''The Great Gatsby'' from beginning to end.
* CreditsGag: A rare opening credits one, with Andy coming out and acknowledging that the film is terrible and because it took so much [[ArtisticLicense artistic liberties with his life story]], he just decided to cut "all the baloney" (read: the whole movie) and starts to roll the end credits. After fooling around with the credits, he then states that it was just to shoo out anyone who wouldn't understand him and then starts the movie proper. As mentioned above, Howdy Doody and Tony Clifton are also listed AsHimself.
* CryingWolf: Andy faces the consequences of this in the final act. Even the ''tabloids'' refused to run the story about his having cancer, as they'd been burned too many times before.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: At one point, Andy argues that he is expected to shock the audience and is short on ideas, briefly mentioning faking his own death as one.
* FullyAutomaticClipShow: Andy is adamant about not becoming a sitcom actor who simply parrots expected lines. At the end of the ''Taxi'' montage, this trope is applied to the ''many'' times he says "Tank you veddy much'' on the show as Latka.
* GallowsHumor: Andy starts to laugh during his "psychic surgery" to cure his cancer, realizing they're frauds - the same kind of performer he'd always been. [[TearJerker It's the last time we see him alive.]]
* [[GranolaGirl Granola Guy]]: What Andy actually was, but since he's almost always "in character" even during his personal life, we don't learn of this til later in the film.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: Justified. Twice, Andy has trouble talking due to having a cough. It's not acknowledged by anyone in-story and is easily missed... but it foreshadows his lung cancer. What justifies this? The real Andy only learned he had cancer after his loved ones convinced him to see a doctor about his worsening cough.
* InsistentTerminology: Andy hates being called a "comedian", since his act does not consist of telling jokes to get laughs. He prefers "song and dance man" or "entertainer" and tries to avoid being pigeonholed as a comedian, which leads to his reluctance to do ''Taxi''.
* {{Jerkass}}: Andy's Tony Clifton act, which basically consists of him pretending to be a terrible lounge singer who spends most of his stage time hurling abuse at the audience.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Andy; the problem is that for many of his ideas to work, he has to hide that heart securely...
-->'''Lynn:''' So you just... pretend to be an asshole?
-->'''Andy:''' ''(shrugs)'' It's what I'm good at.
-->'''Lynn:''' Yeah... you are... really good at it.
* KayFabe: Andy Kaufman's entire style of humor. However, in a more direct variation of the trope, he was fascinated with wrestling and decided he wanted to be the {{Heel}} wrestling women. He and Jerry Lawler collaborated, and the two fooled everyone, and we mean ''everyone'', with some hardcore Kay Fabe. Even if you knew Andy was faking it, he was uncomfortably realistic in his sexist persona.
* MatchCut[=/=]TimeSkip: 8-year-old Andy performs his CallAndResponseSong "The Cow Goes Moo" with his little sister doing the responses. On "And the lion goes --" "Roar!", her voice is replaced with that of a bored, middle-aged comedy club patron -- cue the match cut revealing him, the setting, and from there the reveal that Andy, now in his ''mid-twenties'', is performing the song for adults.
* AMinorKidroduction: The opening CreditsGag with the adult Andy ends as he presents some home movies of his family in TheFifties that segue into the movie proper. Little Andy's showbiz ambitions and CloudCuckoolander nature are established as he performs for an unseen audience in his bedroom (he thinks there are cameras in the walls and thus people watching him), and his father tells him he'll have to perform for actual people from now on...
* MoneyDearBoy: In-universe. Andy takes the ''Taxi'' gig at the behest of Shapiro in order to gain money and recognition to launch future projects; Andy hates sitcoms in general, is wary of being labeled as a "comedian'', makes no secret about his disdain of working on the show, works many special demands into his contract, and generally tries to act in a manner that will get him out of his deal.
* OscarBait: Not that it took. Besides failing at the box-office, the film wasn't nominated for any Oscars, which was actually something of a surprise at the time as Carrey had been expected to get a nomination, especially so soon after what was seen as a snub for ''Film/TheTrumanShow''.
** Carrey took home a Best Actor Golden Globe for both ''Truman'' and ''Man on the Moon'' in consecutive years and got snubbed both times. Ouch.
* PsychicSurgery: Andy travels to the Philippines to have his inoperable lung cancer treated by a man claiming this ability. He starts laughing hysterically when the "surgery" starts, apparently realizing it's just a trick. It doesn't work, clearly, as the next scene is of his funeral. Sadly TruthInTelevision-many people in [[TheSeventies the '70s]] and [[TheEighties '80s]], often, like Kaufman, with terminal diseases, were defrauded by such con men in the Philippines.
* SignificantBirthDate: One TV ad pointed out that Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey were both born on January 17.
* TheTrickster: Andy.
* {{Troll}}: Andy's entire comedy career is essentially a series of ridiculously elaborate practical jokes towards his audience, and the audience is sometimes merely studio execs who have to deal with his and/or Tony Clifton's shenanigans.
* WhamShot: In the epilogue, the final shot of the film tracks through the audience cheering Tony Clifton's comeback performance one year after Andy's death. [[spoiler:Bob Zmuda is among them. ''So who's playing Tony?''[[note]][[DoingInTheWizard Probable answer]]: Kaufman's ''brother'', who in real life occasionally played Clifton a few times both while Kaufman was still alive and after his death.[[/note]]]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Andy tricks Lynne into coming to Memphis with him by saying that he will use one of his wrestling matches as his public proposal of marriage to her, but in fact he needs her to set up his "feud" with Jerry Lawler (who interrupts the show to reveal their relationship and that she's a plant, and challenging him to wrestle his protege instead). Afterward, she calls him out on using her as a prop and -- for the first time in the story -- Andy apologizes for tricking someone. A MissingTrailerScene has Andy's father calling him out over tricking his family with regards to his fate in the Lawler/Kaufman match that supposedly left him in a neckbrace; again, Andy apologizes, but also warns his family that ''nothing he does in public is real''. His unwillingness to stop his tricky ways leads to the CryingWolf problem above.