Comedian Judah Friedlander has always been the kind of comedian that tackles the real issues of the world. The issues that affect us all. Even Judah’s 30 Rock character, Frank Rossitano, was a prime example of that. In the special, Judah gives his take on the vital issues at hand. Comedy Hype caught up with the World Champ, Judah Friedlander, to chat about his new special, plus more!
CH: Your new special, “America Is The Greatest Country In The United States” is now on Netflix. What can your fans expect from your new stand up material?
JF: In this special, I’m addressing the matters that affect us as human beings; racism, sexism, fascism, healthcare, climate change, mass incarceration, war, materialism — pretty much the things that affect us as a society. I’ve always been passionate about human rights issues, but I never try to do things in a preachy manner, my standpoint is always in an observational manner. I don’t like telling people what to think, my goal is prompting people to start thinking in the first place, and then they can start thinking for themselves.
CH: The title of your special is very interesting. What’s the origin of the title?
JF: It stems from a bit I have, where i’m basically hyping up America, but also criticizing America at the same time. About 7 or 8 years ago, I started traveling to other countries for shows, and it allowed me to see my own country a little bit better. It’s kind of like when you’re in a bad relationship with someone and the people around you are like, “Why are you dating that person? They’re an asshole to you.” And then a couple years after you breakup, you reflect back on it like, “Yeah, why the fuck was I with that person?”. Initially, I thought that when I started traveling, I would learn more about other countries, but turns out, I learned more about America.
CH: Your new special has a raw and intimate feel. The special is even shot in black & white, which is about as raw as it gets for film aesthetics. The special really embodies what New York City comedy feels like. Also, you chose the legendary comedy club, The Comedy Cellar, to shoot this special — is there a reason you chose this shooting style and is there a reason you picked this specific location?
JF: The way this special is filmed, it’s almost an anti-special. Usually, specials are elaborate productions with bright lights and big sounds; I wanted to go the opposite way. I wanted to make this special feel as honest and raw as possible. I do stand as a very simple art form, so I wanted my special to reflect that. As far as choosing The Comedy Cellar for the location, it’s the club I work at the most. I’ve been working at The Comedy Cellar on a regular basis, since the early-90’s. So, the thought was to just film this special on a regular night where I’m working at The Comedy Cellar. I wanted a no frills, no bullshit approach to making this special.
CH: Currently, America needs some work. It’s not in a great spot. But it sounds like you have some awesome observations and ideas for improvements. Would you ever run for President? And if you were elected for President of the United States, what’s the very first thing you’d do?
Good question. I talk about my presidential platform in the new special. I’ve also been an outsider and an advocate for rebellion. So if I did run for President, I wouldn’t pick a side. I think I’d be more effective as an outsider. And if I did get elected, the first thing I’d do is open up the White House. I wouldn’t even live there, I’d make the White House for the people. Whether you want to just hangout there, or you’re looking for a place to crash, it’s yours. Who knows, maybe I’d turn it into the world’s largest roller skating rink. If I’m the President, the White House is for the people. Also, I’d do the same thing to the U.S. Capitol Building.
CH: If you had a conversation with Donald Trump, what are 3 things would you say to him?
JF: First of all, I would let him know who the superior athlete is; I would challenge him to any sport and whatever sport he picked, I would humiliate him. I’d let him know who’s #1. Next, I would never make eye contact, because he doesn’t deserve even the minimal amount of respect. And lastly, I would tell him to pack his bags and get the fuck out of here.
CH: So, your new special, “America Is The Greatest Country In The United States” is now available on Netflix. Is there anything else that Judah Friedlander fans should be looking out for?
JF: You can always catch me doing stand up, whether it’s on the road or back in New York. I also have a project that I’m currently doing on Instagram. The project is titled,”Activist Barbie” — it’s centered around human issues. I go to a lot of protests, no matter what the cause is, because I believe that in order for things to change, we all have to start speaking up for each other. Nothing’s going to change if only black people are marching for Black Lives Matter, or only gay people are marching for Gay Rights or if only women are marching for Women’s Rights. We all have to speak up for each other. So, I take Activist Barbie to protests with different signs and different shirts. Some of the signs and shirts are serious and some of them are funny. Either way, the aim is to always provoke thoughts. So, you can follow the journey of Activist Barbie on Instagram.
Judah Friedlander’s new special, “America Is The Greatest Country In The United States” is available now on Netflix.