Q&A with Judah Friedlander

Eliana Goldstein | Contributing Reporter

Zoe Kline | Student Life

Judah Friedlander conducts his standup comedy routine in Edison Theatre on Wednesday, March 5. Friedlander was one of two headliners for Social Programming Board’s spring comedy show and phoned Student Life Wednesday night for a quick interview.


Performing in a packed Edison Theatre on Wednesday, March 5, Social Programming Board spring comedy headliner Judah Friedlander joked about his presidential campaign, his status as reigning world champion of everything and the sex parties he hopes to host. Student Life caught up with Friedlander after the show to discuss his act and feelings on all things St. Louis, from Imo’s Pizza to the attractiveness of the student body.

Student Life: How often do you do college shows?

Judah Friedlander: I’m not sure—that’s a good question. Let’s just say about five to 10 a year.

SL: And what did you think of Wash. U. as a venue?

JF: I’ve heard a lot about the school over the years, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the school. And then, you know, I’m getting a ride to the Edison Theatre and I see something in the distance and I’m like, “Oh, is that a castle? What is that?” And then I’m like, “Oh, that must be the main entrance to the school or something.” The campus, from the little bit that I saw, is incredible. And the theater was great! Really good acoustics, and everyone working there, from students to staff, was really nice.

SL: So how was your experience working with [Social Programming Board]?

JF: They were great!

SL: Have you been to St. Louis before?

JF: I did some gigs here about a year ago at a rock club called the Firebird.

SL: What’s your favorite place in the city?

JF: I love making fun of Imo’s Pizza. It’s such a divisive topic because it’s specific to St. Louis. I remember the first time I had it, I thought I was on a prank show where someone had given me the worst pizza in history, and then I realized, “Oh, this is how they actually make it.” But I’ve come to appreciate it, even though it’s horrendous. I’ve come to actually like it. Legally, it’s not even like pizza. The cheese they use is, like, not even real cheese. It’s a cheese-like product. I think legally, you’re not allowed to call it cheese. I’m fascinated by St. Louis-style pizza.

note: Imo’s could not be reached to confirm or deny this allegation.

SL: It is indeed a place all its own. Now, we’re always curious—can you rate the audience’s appearance from one to 10?

JF: It’s a good-looking school! I’d say 10 out of 10.

SL: Wow! College Prowler only gave us a B or something.

JF: I’ll send them a message. I disagree.

SL: We appreciate that! So, most people know you from your time on “30 Rock”…Tina Fey is something of a role model for [us].

JF: Tina’s great! Tina’s pretty much Liz Lemon…they’re the same person.

SL: What was your favorite hat you wore on the show?

JF: The one that said “TRAP DO_R” with the second “O” missing. The idea being that the second “O” had fallen through the trap door.

SL: How realistic is “30 Rock”’s portrayal of the world of television?

JF: I would ask Tina that. A lot of the stuff is taken from experiences she had being a head writer at [“Saturday Night Live”]…For example, on one episode—it was called the “Sun Tea” episode—my character is peeing in jars and keeping them in my office. So I go to Tina and I’m like, “A lot of the storylines you write are based off things that happened…but c’mon…did this really happen?” And she’s like, “Yeah.” And I’m like, “Who was it?” And she goes, “Several people.” And I’m like, “WHAT?” I thought, “OK, it’s one freaky creepy who’s doing this,” and she’s like, “No, there were like three different guys.” I’m like, “Why would they even do that,” like why would they want to be in their office with that? And I’m not sure if it was like complete laziness, like they were in the middle of writing and didn’t want to get up and go all the way down the hall to the bathroom or like a territorial aggressive act, like, “This is my office, I’m gonna pee in a jar and if someone comes in and sees that, well, that’s their problem. They’re in my office.”

SL: Wow…Behind the scenes on “SNL,” where people just kind of…pee in jars. Yikes. So…what’s kept you in stand-up instead of primarily screen roles?

JF: Well, standup is my favorite thing…There’s so much filming for such a long time, and standup’s always been my main thing…I [can’t] really go on tour; I [have] to stay at home. I want to get out and tour all over the country, all over the world. That’s what I’ve pretty much been doing for the last year. Just in the past few months, I’ve started doing more acting. And I just did a cameo in a movie called “Sharknado 2.”

SL: OH MY GOD.

JF: I’m a huge fan of those kinds of movies, so I contacted the network as well as the production company and I’m like, “Guys, I want to be in on this if you guys make another one”…I think when I first contacted them they thought I was kidding, and I was like, “Guys, no. I actually like your movies.” I have some of my own movies that I want to write and make that are that style. Some of the hats I wore on “30 Rock” were titles of movies I want to make…like “Karate Prom” and “Shark Cop.”

SL: So is that what’s next for you?

JF: I have two big projects currently. One is a standup album; the second is a standup concert documentary film. Then after that, I have two movies of my own that I want to write, make and be in.

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