The '30 Rock' actor plays a gig Saturday in Philly. He talks to PW about sports, eating, pooping and, yes, hats.
Judah Friedlander should be Fonzie.
You know what we mean: The supporting character in a sitcom who is so funny and enjoyable every time he hits the screen that, inevitably, the show's focus turns away from its original setting and toward that character. Like Fonzie. Or Urkel. Friedlander plays Frank on 30 Rock, and while his character doesn't always get a lot of screen time, it's usually quality time filled with more porn references than can be found anywhere else on network television.
Away from the cameras, Friedlander still pursues a stand-up comedy career. He plays Saturday night at the Theatre of the Living Arts. He talked to PW about sports, poop, comedy and, yes, hats. Some excerpts:
PW: I've got to let you know, I let my friends know I'd be interviewing you. And two of them separately, completely separately, asked if you or I would be wearing pants during this interview. That's a pretty remarkable cultural achievement you've got going when people just automatically ask that question.
JF: Interesting. Very interesting. Yeah, what can I tell you? I guess some people want to be loose and get excited when they talk to me. It's a free country. You can wear whatever you want when you talk to me.
PW: Are you wearing pants?
JF: I'm wearing shorts. I'm an athlete, I'm ready to go.
PW: You're the world champion, as I understand it. What are you the world champion of exactly?
JF: You name it. Every sport, I'm the best in the world.
PW: Do you do hurdles?
JF: Yeah, I do hurdles. You must know about my training regimen. I usually do a lot of shoulder presses, usually about 600 pounds while running the treadmill at Level 10, at the steepest incline. And my treadmill has a hurdle on it. So I actually have to lift the weight, run over the hurdle -- it's on a treadmill so I have to immediately duck, slide under the hurdle, and do it all over again.
PW: That sounds like it defies the laws of physics.
JF: Yeah, for a normal person. But not a world champion athlete like me. And I do it every day, just for working out.
PW: We have an event here in Philly we kind of regard as sports, maybe you won't. Have you ever heard of the Wing Bowl? It's basically a hot-wing eating contest, and it's a huge cultural thing in Philadelphia.
JF: Philly's a good eatin' town. You guys have good food there. And I don't need to enter a contest to know I can eat more wings than anyone else. I usually have 50 wings before I have my cereal in the morning, just to get my protein in.
PW: That would mean you're not the world champion of Wing Bowl.
JF: I would if I entered it. I'm actually banned from eating competitions. Because eating competitions lead to shitting competitions. Sorry about the language there, but you asked the question. And I've won every shitting contest, which means I've won every eating contest. That's why I've been banned -- kids like to go to those events. Eating contests are basically a gateway to shitting contests, and I'm a role model. So they banned me.
PW: Most people know you from your acting career, specifically as Frank on 30 Rock. It's looks like you've got a pretty comfortable gig going. Why do stand-up?