In this week's print edition we interviewed Judah Friedlander: standup comedian, "World Champion", and one of the stars of NBC's recently-wrapped sitcom 30 Rock. Friedlander is an exceptionally engaging and approachable interviewee, and as such we were unable to fit our whole conversation into the paper. Here's what got left on the cutting-room floor. (Friedlander will be making an appearance at the Firebird this Friday, February 8 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.)
See Also: -Stand-Up Comedy: It's Like Rock & Roll but with More Assholes
Judah Friedlander [on the subject of his persona as the "World Champion"]: I've been doing stand up since '89 and I remember probably some fifteen years ago, every comedian was taking the persona of "Hey, you ever notice this?" or "Hey let's all relate on this." It was almost like there was a best friend kind of a thing. It's like "Hey I got this problem and you guys probably do too." That was the angle they were taking and I just decided to take an opposite approach. I couldn't relate to anything anyone's doing because my life is just so phenomenal.
And that's changed a lot over the years, but that was the initial thrust behind the World Champion persona. And this was going back seventeen years ago.
A lot of it now has changed into the ridiculousness of what a self-promotional society we live in. Social media, Twitter, Facebook -- we'll even go back to MySpace -- everyone is just constantly bragging about themselves, so that's all they're doing. They're just showing off on Instagram. They're sharing what delicious meals they've eaten; it's just non-stop. So some of my act is kind of an undercover commentary on that.
Kelsey McClure: It's almost satirical.
And recently I have been doing a lot of material about the ridiculousness of politics in this country and public policy, so I talk a lot about my Presidential platform because I'm going to be the next President.
That's a new direction for the World Champion. I'm always working on new material and things are always kind of pushing into new directions. And I'm taking it to new directions because for me the most exciting stuff is doing new stuff, so I like to do it as much as I can. Doing the same stuff over and over again is boring.
And I imagine if you are doing multiple sets a night and you are doing the same set for each show it just wouldn't be worth it.
Yeah. Let's say I do four shows in one night. There might be 50% the same material, but of that material that's done, it's not done in the same order or anything. And then there's probably 50% of a mix of coming up with things on the spot as well as trying out some brand new jokes. And included in that material that I am repeating, some of those are jokes that I am working on or developing. So a joke might start as a one-liner but after a couple weeks of shows where I get to work on that bit four times in one night, that one-liner might become a one-liner with three jokes attached to it. So it grows into something, or a bit, and then I also figure out where it might fit within my act the best. So even if some jokes are repeated it's a mix of trying to figure out where they fit and how to build a joke.