As the eccentric comedy writer Frank Rossitano on “30 Rock,” Judah Friedlander often accomplishes the impossible: he steals scenes from Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. But, it’s no surprise considering the self-professed “World Champion” has conquered all media he’s worked in for decades – from standup to film appearances.
Aside from “Rock,” the comedian/actor is always on the standup comedy circuit and has had memorable appearances in such flicks as “The Wrestler” and “American Splendor.” On Saturday, May 16, the iconic figure and star athlete will bring his trucker cap style and overconfidence to the Emelin Theater.
We caught up with Friedlander, and asked him all about “30 Rock,” goals he’s achieved, and of course, the Emelin show.
How familiar are you with the Emelin in Mamaroneck?
I know it’s a great theatre in a great town in a great state. A lot of good Americans live there. I’m looking forward to doing my show at the Emelin Theatre.
Have you ever been in town before?
No, I’ve driven by it. And I’ve met cool people from Mamaroneck after shows I’ve done in Manhattan.
How does one prepare for a Westchester audience?
You make fun of all the people from Eastchester.
What’s a typical standup show like for you?
It’s the greatest part of the day. I’ve been doing stand-up for 20 years. It’s always been my main thing even though I’ve gotten more exposure for acting work in movies and TV. I like doing the stand-up show and then meeting the audience after.
Is there a lot of improvisation?
Yes. It’s a mix of jokes made up on the spot as well as prepared original jokes by me that were all just named The Greatest Jokes in the World by the Commissioner of Comedy. And some of the jokes will definitely be dirtier than what you see on network television.
Did you always want to pursue comedy?
I got drafted right out of high school. Never really planned on it. It just happened naturally.
Who were your heroes growing up?
Me in the future. My father, Pele. And my mother, Rambo.
Would you say Frank is the Kramer of “30 Rock?”
Not sure. But I’m definitely not the Michael Richards of “30 Rock.” There will be no awkward racial tension filled heckle sessions at my stand-up shows.
Is Tina Fey really that nice – dish.
Tina is really cool. A great boss. And co-worker!
You claim to be the world champion – what are you world champion of exactly?
Of the world. I am the greatest athlete in the world, a master of the martial arts, a sex symbol to women, feared by men and a role model to children.
Lastly, what’s the roughest night of standup you’ve ever had?
The night I got only two standing ovations.
Jon Chattman is a pop culture writer and author of Sweet Stache