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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Comedian Judah Friedlander's unique style gets gigs

Instead of going to my Intro to Television class on Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of interviewing professional comedian and "30 Rock" star Judah Friedlander. He’s one of the most iconic comedians of his time; partly for the trademark trucker-hat-vibrant-glasses combo he dons regularly and mainly for his killer comedy persona.

When asked how he got his start in the stand-up scene, Friedlander told me, “Random open mics in New York. Actually, the first place I ever did stand-up was a comedy club in DC. They had a weekly open mic night, and I only got three minutes.”

Performing stand-up is an intimidating and nerve-racking idea, but for those who have always wanted to give it a shot, Judah would tell them, “Don’t wait. Do it. Get up there. Put together like three minutes of material and start wherever you live, whether it’s a bar, comedy club, or college group. Go out there and give it a shot. The only way to get better is by going on stage and doing as much as you can.”

On how to become a better comedian, Friedlander advises, “Every time you should be learning something about the venues and the audiences. One gesture can mean a laugh, the way you say the joke matters, and so does the order you tell them in. They all need to be learned and refined.”

As a professional comic, Judah is known for his easily recognizable outfit that includes custom trucker hats and stylish glasses. The outfit’s origin story starts back in the early 90s.

“Years ago I started making my own hats. At the time, all the hipsters in New York would wear all black and very thin wired-rim glasses and goatees. I sort of decided, well it wasn’t really my look. I always had long hair. I was like; I’m going to go the opposite way of these guys. The first time I ever had to get glasses, the guy at the store told me the wired-rims were the coolest and would attract all the ladies, and I thought, ‘Why not celebrate the glasses, why hide them?’ So I got the biggest glasses. People would be like, ‘What are you doing? You’ll never get casted looking like that.’ I just wanted to do my thing; I wasn’t trying to get on a show. Cut to years later, people started wearing the same thing. People were looking for a ‘Judah Friedlander type.’ It went from agents telling me I’m too extreme looking to now, they’re looking for people that look like me.”

A trendsetter that took chances with big payoffs, Judah Friedlander is not afraid to try new things. His current act involves lots of audience interaction, unprepared material, and exploring themes he’s not afraid to delve deep in.

He will be performing at the Comedy Club on State this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. You can also hear him on the new Fox animated show "Bordertown" next year. His persona and talent are a combination you won’t want to miss.

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