Whether it be martial arts (all of them), romance or pursuits of the mind, Judah Friedlander is the undisputed master of all he attempts. So it should come as scant surprise that The World Champion’s next visit to the Hub is to collect another title: on September 22, the Boston Comedy Festival will crown Judah Comedian of the Year at its 13th annual gala. We caught up with the 30 Rock star to talk about this latest laurel, some ideas for improving Boston, and his prospects for life after Frank.
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You’re getting the BCF 2012 Comedian of the Year Award. How does that rank in The World Champion’s list of accolades?
Judah: I put it right at the top, man. It’s a huge honor, really cool. I’ve been doing standup since ’89, and this is my first big award .
You know Boston pretty well?
Judah: Yeah, I wish I was up there more, since it’s so close to New York. I’ve done the Davis Square Theatre before [as part of BCF 2011], and shows at Northeastern, Tufts and Harvard.
If you were to make Boston a trucker hat, what would the slogan be?
Judah: I know exactly what I’d put on a hat for Boston…
“BETTER BURRITOS THAN NEW YORK.”
…really? You think so?
Judah: Hell yeah. Anna’s or Felipe’s super burritos are unreal, man.
How similar are you and Frank, your 30 Rock character?
Judah: We have some stuff in common. Frank looks up to The World Champion a lot.
But Frank isn’t the greatest athlete alive.
Frank doesn’t sleep with 40 chicks before breakfast.
Frank doesn’t parkour his way from New York to London.
Still, do you and Frank have any habits in common [like sun tea]? Have you ever done something and then realized, “this is exactly what Frank would have done”?
Judah: No, thank God. When I go onto 30 Rock, I have to focus to get into Frank.
As The World Champion, you’ve put forward a lot of ideas for tackling the country’s issues, from gay marriage (mandatory) to homelessness (toll-booths). Mind taking a stab at a few of Boston’s problems?
Judah: Let’s do it.
Boston has a reputation for being a pretty sleepy, early-to-bed sort of town. We can’t have happy hours, and the bars are only open here until 2 AM. Plus the T shuts down around 12:30. How do we get City Hall to loosen up?
Judah: If that’s what City Hall is doing, I say we shut City Hall down.
We’ll turn it into a Chuck E. Cheese during the daytime and a Dave & Buster’s at night.
AWESOME. Next: people really don’t know how to drive here.
Judah: I have no problem with that whatsoever. Pedestrians have to tough it up and learn to dodge the cars.
Massachusetts has a reputation for having steep taxes: the Herald especially likes to call us “Taxachusetts.”
Judah: When I become President, Canada will pay all of our taxes. This goes for Massachusetts, too. We’re the US, we can take them over in a second if we wanted to.
And if they’re really our friends, they’d help us out.
Problems solved. What’s next for you after BCF and post-30 Rock?
Judah: I’m working on an album, and a standup documentary. Then I’m also contemplating some kind of a followup to How To Beat Up Anybody.
BOSTON COMEDY FESTIVAL FINALS
FEATURING JUDAH FRIEDLANDER