Tuesday, 25 February 2014 09:22

Judah Friedlander: A Hero For Our Time

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Judah Friedlander Judah Friedlander Courtesy Photo

Judah Friedlander
McFadden's Third Floor
March 7, show times at 9 and 11 p.m.
SOLD OUT
mcfaddensgrandrapids.com, (616) 454-9105

It's hard to be humble when you're the World Champion. For comedian Judah Friedlander, this is a status he has maintained for years during his stand-up sets, but he insists that it's all for the good of the American people.

"Well, I recognized that America needed a hero, and now it needs a hero more than ever," Friedlander said. "And then they had the World Championships and I won."

Those who don't recognize Friedlander from his World Champion title may remember him better as Frank Rossitano, the trucker hat-donning TV writer from "30 Rock." Since the series ended in 2013 Friedlander has been hitting the stand-up circuit even harder than before, though he admits it was definitely an adjustment.

"It's been a little bit weird because you get used to doing one thing for so long, you know. But I've basically been on tour non-stop," Friedlander said. "I had to move apartments twice, and I feel like I'm sort of just getting settled in now. I just wanted to get out and see the world and perform all over the world when I wrapped the show, and that's pretty much what I did."

During his time at "30 Rock," Friedlander became well-known for his signature trucker hats, which included more than 200 different phrases throughout the show, personally crafted by Friedlander himself with what he refers to simply as, "amazing skill." He still includes the hats in his stand-up and personal life (he actually wore them long before the show), and explains that the accessories are a natural fit for him.

"I've been wearing hats since I was like, a baby. I've always been wearing hats," Friedlander said. "And back in the '80s, those were like the only hats that were around, kind of, so I was just kind of used to those hats."

Hat-crafting, stand-up and acting are only a few of Friedlander's skills. He claims to have an extra-dark black belt in karate, and insists his prowess as a ping pong player is unmatched. Although he claims to be banned from the Olympics, he insists he will effectively crush any ping pong adversary during his stay in Grand Rapids for LaughFest.

"I will challenge anyone in Grand Rapids. I will come to your basement and play you."

To anyone reading this who plans to take Friedlander up on this challenge, may God have mercy on your soul.

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