Tuesday is Jeff Goldblum Day.
In 2004, Pittsburgh City Council officially dedicated July 13 to the West Homestead native. While there are no formal events this year, I (who spent the pandemic painting Jeff Goldblum clothespin dolls) want to publicly acknowledge this quirky actor.
Jeff Goldblum inspired me to become a journalist. And as a journalist I know I’m breaking Associated Press style here by including his first name in a second reference because calling Jeff Goldblum anything other than Jeff Goldblum seems wrong.
In the 1985 comedy “Transylvania 6-5000,” he was cast as a tabloid reporter sent to Romania to investigate sightings of Frankenstein’s monster. For a writer and a lifelong horror fan like me, this is a dream assignment.
His character in “The Big Chill” is a neurotic People magazine writer who profiles eccentric individuals, such as a 14-year-old, blind baton twirler from Texas.
“Where do you get those stories?” another character asks him.
“It’s just good investigative journalism,” he replies.
I’m no Pulitzer Prize winner but in 2018 I wrote a NEXTpittsburgh story about a Jeff Goldblum Day party at Artisan Café and Tattoo Gallery in Garfield. The following year on Jeff Goldblum Day, the actor himself showed up at the now-shuttered Penn Avenue shop to help ink Jeff Goldblum-themed tats on diehard fans.
Travis Andrews will be the first to tell you that that’s a classic Jeff Goldblum move.
Andrews, an actual journalist for The Washington Post, recently released a book about Jeff Goldblum’s one-of-a-kind celebrity titled “Because He’s Jeff Goldblum.”
The unauthorized biography delves into the 68-year-old actor’s formative years in Pittsburgh, his unorthodox movie career and his strange yet totally on-brand turn as an internet sensation and jazz musician. (Note to Jeff Goldblum: Please come home and tickle the ivories at Con Alma!)
“His career is really fascinating and off-kilter,” Andrews says. “He was one of the first memes and now he’s such a prominent figure online, like Bill Murray and Keanu Reeves. The book wrote itself. I even included an extra 15,000 words.”
This is hilarious considering Jeff Goldblum’s speech pattern is filled with dramatic, uh, pauses.
Even if you’ve never seen Jeff Goldblum on the Silver Screen in “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Independence Day” or “Death Wish” (his first movie role) you know who he is. This past school year, a fifth-grade teacher in Missouri incorporated the thespian into her curriculum.
Andrews’ Jeff Goldblum education started when he was 7 years old. Thanks to an inattentive babysitter, Andrews watched wide-eyed as Jeff Goldblum’s mad scientist slowly morphs into an insect in David Cronenberg’s “The Fly.”
“It traumatized me,” Andrews says with a laugh.
Despite the horrific introduction, Andrews remained a fan, watching “Jurassic Park” on repeat throughout his teen years. As he got older, he found obscure gems, including 1977’s “Between the Lines,” yet another film where Jeff Goldblum plays a professional scribe.
In Andrews’ hometown of New Orleans, Jeff Goldblum led an LGBTQ pride parade through the French Quarter while wearing a leopard-print shirt and zebra-striped pants. Why? Because he’s Jeff Goldblum.
The author continues to ride the Jeff Goldblum wave of popularity via podcasts and fan interactions. In his book, Andrews asks readers to send him Jeff Goldblum haikus. Now his inbox is flooded. Here’s another one for you, Travis:
A yinzer by birth
Who transformed into a bug
Now god of the meme
Andrews hopes to visit Pittsburgh soon. First stop, Carnegie Science Center, where Jeff Goldblum’s dulcet tones welcome folks to Buhl Planetarium.
It is Jeff Goldblum’s universe after all; we just live in it.