Christian Hunt, the organizer of tonight's "DMV Roast of Daniel Snyder" comedy show at the Brixton, knows how the perennial failure-to-launch of the Washington Redskins can get under the collective skin of Washingtonians.
This year, he says, the embarrassing season, another coach getting fired and the name controversy made for a perfect storm: The founder of the Capital City Showcase decided the team's polarizing owner, Dan Snyder, would make the perfect scapegoat/victim for a roast. It's just that Snyder, obviously, won't actually place himself at the questionable mercy of Washington comics. Hunt didn't invite him.
Instead, the duty of being Dan Snyder falls to sharp local comedian Adam Friedland.
Tonight's roast will serve as the kickoff for a new series of Tuesday night comedy shows at the Brixton. Other events will be hosted by such local comedians as Haywood Turnipseed Jr. and Reggie Melbrough. For those who go, the Brixton will have happy hour from 7-10 p.m. with $4 Bud Lights, $5 drafts and rail drinks, and $6 wine by the glass.
The Washington Post: How do you prepare to play Dan Snyder?
Adam Friedland: I looked up a little bit of case law. My mom would be so mad if I got sued. She's already not behind the comedy thing 100 percent. There are parody exceptions, and that's how "SNL" gets away with it. We're not presenting it as fact; it's an exception to libel.
WP: Maybe you should be a lawyer.
Friedland: Well, I got into law school, and then I didn't go because I did, like, two open mikes, and I thought, "You know, this is a stable career."
WP: Where did the idea come from, and why did you decide to start with Daniel Snyder?
Christian Hunt: There are so many great shows going on right now; it's a really funny scene, but the challenge is that you have to really be unique. The model is the old-school Dean Martin, Comedy Central roast, where it's a fun atmosphere for the comics.
Haywood was like, why don't we roast D.C. stuff? Like the Metro, maybe the panda. We don't have to do a particular person. And almost immediately, we were like, Dan Snyder would be perfect. He was the perfect target. You have people who would love to see him roasted. You've got the Redskins having their disastrous season and the stuff with the name change, so he's very much in the news. People were looking to vent for a very long time. I was 9 when they last won the Super Bowl and now I'm 31. So we were like, "Let's see if Adam's interested."
WP: Why Adam?
Hunt: First, because he looks a lot like him...
Hunt: And he's very quick and sharp.
WP: So, how do you embody the role?
Friedland: I did some YouTubing. I read the City Paper article, which was pretty controversial. I don't know how I feel necessarily about roasts. It's strange. It's huge business, but there are lot of comics who are amazing stand-ups who get known for being the best mean guy. It's definitely not the type of comedy I like to do, but I love creating characters, and instead of a hedonistic celebration of celebrity culture, this is a chance to do what comedy is so great at, which is speaking truth to power.
“The DMV Roast of Daniel Snyder” is tonight at 8 p.m. at the Brixton, 901 U St. NW. 202-431-4704. Free, but donations are accepted.