Judah Friedlander brings his mock-confrontationalact to the Second City’s new Spotlight Series.
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER with JON DORE presented by the Second City as part of its Spotlight Series, Tuesday and Wednesday (September 23 and 24), 7:30 and 10 pm. $29.99. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011.
Judah Friedlander is convinced that when casting agents see the words "ruffled, unkempt guy" in a script, they think of him. Blame it on his daily wardrobe of T-shirt, straggly hair and his signature handmade trucker caps. He's kinda got that Unabomber look down pat - at least in real life.
"But I can look different for a part," he says on the phone from his home in Queens, New York. "I do know how to comb my hair."
Still, the look has gained him plenty of notice, especially since it's on display every week in the sitcom 30 Rock, where he plays the ruffled, unkempt comedy writer Frank on the fictional sketch series helmed by Tina Fey.
"We look similar, but we don't behave similarly," says Friedlander. "Frank really likes to annoy people - he gets a kick out of that. When one of the characters on the show started gaining weight, he was right there with the fat jokes. I'm not that way. In stand-up, I never go for the easy joke. If I have a heckler and it's a fat guy, the last thing I'm going to do is a fat joke."
We'll get to see that when Friedlander takes to the Second City stage as part of its new Spotlight Series showcasing stand-up.
Friedlander describes his act as mock-confrontational and intimidating. Part of his shtick covers his incredible sexual and athletic prowess.
Just take a look at his trucker caps for proof. They have grandiose but vague phrases like World Champion hand-stitched (by him) on them.
"I've been making my own hats for about 15 years," he explains. "I've never been much of a shopper. When I was a kid I was obsessed with the Guinness Book Of World Records.
"I'm also a big sports fan, and what frustrates me is that the best athletes aren't always the ones who get noticed. It's the athletes who are the flashiest and who say they're the most amazing who do. So I thought I'd make a hat that said ‘Record Breaker' or ‘World Champion' and not explain what record I broke. It's completely ridiculous. But it gets the audience to ask questions."
Don't get him started, however, about how passé the trucker cap is these days as a fashion accessory.
"I started wearing these hats way before they were trendy," he says. "Back then, people told me I looked stupid. After they became trendy, those same people asked me where I got them. And now that they're out of fashion again, they think I'm an out-of-touch loser who's trying to be cool and doesn't realize the trend is over."
The other reason he wears them?
"It's simple," he says. "My cranium is so huge, other hats don't fit my head."
On his 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin's generosity:
On the connection between comedy and horror. (He's been in horror flicks like Cabin Fever 2 and Feast):