Judah Friedlander is one of the most recognizable comedians in New York. Thanks to his role as Frank Rossiatano on 30 Rock, with his awesome hats and long flowing hair (a look he rocks everyday), people on the street literally stop with their mouths agape, excited to be in his presence.
Judah is also one of the most in-demand performers in the New York club scene, regularly performing sets at The Stand, Stand Up New York, and the Comedy Cellar all in one night. So to catch up with Judah, Amy Hawthorne hopped an Uber with him between spots at The Stand and Stand Up New York on a Friday night.
Judah is a delightful traveling companion! He has conversation skills that put the dinner table at Downton Abbey to shame. When not answering interview questions, he spent the time engaging Amy, Gina (who was filming him) and the driver in conversations on everything from where they grew up, what their career aspirations are, and the history of The Improv and Westway Diner on 9th.
Of course, comedy fans know Judah as more than just the unlikely stud of the TGS writers room. They know him as The World Champion, a comedian whose highly interactive style and no-winking dead straight delivery support an act that’s heavy on persona and absurdity and borders on true performance art (while, of course, being a completely hilarious comedy crushfest). For example, one of his bits – which lives well beyond the stage in videos, web & social media posts – is that he’s running for President. With a new election season looming, The Interrobang wanted to get an update on his plans.
The IBang: Are you running for President again in 2016?
Judah Friedlander: I’m not running, I’ve said it before, I’m standing for President. You know what I’ve decided to do? I’m going to be president of Canada first. Switch it up a bit. Canada’s got some problems and they’re at the top – above us – so fix the top first then work your way down. So next I’ll be President of North Dakota, then I’m gonna go state by state and be President of each one for 6 weeks. I’ll take over every state, one at a time.
The IBang: Will you stay President of Canada the whole time?
Judah Friedlander: Once I leave Canada, I’m out. I’m gonna fix it and it’s going to be perfect forever.
The IBang: Who would be in your cabinet?
Judah Friedlander: Nobody in the cabinet, save money.
The IBang: How would you improve the TSA?
Judah Friedlander: I find the smaller the town, the better the TSA workers, so I’m only gonna hire people in small towns and I’ll relocate them to the bigger cities.
The IBang: How about Secret Service, who would be on your staff?
Judah Friedlander: I’m firing all those clowns. Those drunk, whoring morons, getting rid of them. I’m gonna have Girl Scouts sell Girl Scout Cookies around the White House area and I’m gonna have them be the eyes. I’ll strap cameras on all of them and all the cookies. Terrorists like cookies. You put a camera in the cookies and you’ll know where they are. I actually already have a patent on that.
The IBang: The Clintons have a private email server, what do you do for email security?
Judah Friedlander: If people need me, I’m there for them. You don’t have to email me. Email’s a waste of time. I do everything by fax. In the 90’s there were no problems like that – no racist basketball team owners getting fired, no Hollywood execs being fired… I’m not racist, I’m just saying email created a lot of problems and wasted a lot of time. People get a hundred thousand emails, they don’t get a hundred thousand faxes. When you fax something, it’s important.
The IBang: Baseball is our national passtime, would that be your choice of national passtime?
Judah Friedlander: Well, there’s nothing official about that. I love baseball, but it’s not official, it’s assumed. But if you want a new national passtime, that’s OK too. Freedom of thought. Freedom of time and freedom of past – whatever you want your national passtime to be, that’s it. It’s a big country, there’s lots of opinions.
While you probably can’t just pick up Judah in an Uber, you have a great opportunity to enjoy your own Judah chat on Wednesday March 25 on the 8 pm Comedy Underground with Dave Attell at The Village Underground. After each performer’s set, Dave shares the stage with them for some fun conversation and a little friendly ribbing.
The IBang: So, Dave always has a chat with the comedian on Comedy Underground, if you could interview Dave, what would you ask him?
Judah Friedlander: I always bust his balls, I love Dave. He’s a friend of mine and, you know, a great, great comic. One thing I love busting Dave on is how… I’ve known Dave over 20 years and I see him every week. We work at a comedy club that also has a restaurant where we all hang out that serves delicious food and I’ve seen him eat ONCE in my life. Everyone goes to the Cellar, hangs out upstairs and eats. Dave never eats.One time, we went to a diner and I saw Dave eat and it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. He got like a plain salad, maybe it had deli turkey on it and french dressing. It was the worst. So I was busting him and said, “Dave, I bet you’re the kind of guy who ONLY likes a red delicious apple. I bet you don’t like any other versions of apples.” and it’s true! He goes, “Yeah, I don’t like any other of those types of apples, they’re all fruity and shit.” As creative as his comedy mind is, his taste buds are equally uncreative and against creativity.
Go see Judah Friedlander on Wednesday March 25, 2014 as part of Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground Live lineup at the Village Underground in New York City. For tickets visit comedyundergroundlive.com.