The end of another season of NBC’s 30 Rock brought out more than a few new interviews with comedian Judah Friedlander, who not only plays a writer on the show but also writes an official NBC blog in character and contributes his own customized hats for each episode. Here’s a chitty chat with a Philadelphia site, with the New York Observer, with Comedy Central Insider, and with the Neighborbee Blog. All very nice and positive pieces, to be sure. But the Comedy Central interview, in particular, dips its toes into tricky waters — albeit unknowingly, it seems — by referencing a recent 30 Rock plotline about professional jealousy and asking Friedlander about joke stealing. And here is how Friedlander replied: That has happened before, but I never stole anyone’s bit.
I’ve had some people come up to me and say, "That’s so and so’s," but I
would always talk to that so and so in question, and they’d say, "No,
that isn’t mine at all."
The follow-up question could have, would have, should have been, oh, Judah, are you referring to how Saturday Night Live‘s Penelope character (played by Kristen Wiig) essentially does the same one-upsmanship conversation trickery that’s a major part of your crowd work and "world champion of the world" routine? When I saw the first Penelope sketch, I thought that Friedlander had something to do with it. He didn’t. You can watch and judge for yourselves.
Video of Judah Friedlander at the Comic Strip Live in NYC a couple of years ago:
Video of SNL’s Penelope in her most recent appearance in March 2008: