Comedian Judah Friedlander Pokes Fun At American Exceptionalism With New Show, 'Future President'
He is, by his account, "World Champion." Of what? Depends on when you ask.
It may be easier to pin down Judah Friedlander's resume as an actor and comedian in movies like Wet Hot American Summer, American Splendor, Meet The Parents and The Wrestler. Or maybe you'd recognize him — and his hats — from NBC's 30 Rock, where he played the slumpy and kind of sleazy Frank Rossitano.
Or, you might have gotten a taste of Friedlander's political humor in America is the Greatest Country in The United States, his stand-up special streaming on Netflix.
The comedian is now hitting stages across the country with a new show, Judah Friedlander: Future President. He just swept through Georgia with performances in Atlanta and Athens.
Friedlander spoke with On Second Thought about how his "World Champion" character transformed from critiquing individual egocentrism to calling out American exceptionalism. He also described his process and crowdwork onstage, as well as how he uses comedy to engage in serious issues.
"As a comedian, I never like to go for easy laughs," Friedlander said. "I always like to go to the most difficult, serious, and darkest places and create laughter out of those. So it can serve as a relief. You know, [humor] can be a tool to get through tough times."
And even though many of the subjects his comedy covers — such as healthcare, immigration and gun control — can be divisive, Friendlander says his jokes engage audience members on all sides of the issues.
"In my act, I don't do anything preachy," he said. "I don't tell people what to think but, to get my jokes, you have to think."
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