Some characters tend to be one-note gimmicks — “like I’m going to be suspenders guy; I’m going to tell a joke, and after each joke I’m going to stretch those suspenders and shake my hips,” Friedlander says by way of comparison — but the World Champion act isn’t a recurring joke so much as an ever-evolving persona.
“Initially, it was all sports-related stuff, completely absurd, ridiculous things,” he said. “For a while, it was one-upping — or multiple-upping, I would call it — on people, and then it became more martial arts. . . . And this past year or so, I’ve been doing a lot of political stuff about how the World Champion would run the country.”
His assertions may sound over the top, but Friedlander believes that his character is based on some kernel of truth about society.
“What I’m also doing is trying to satirize the culture we live in on how everything is about self-promotion,” he said. “I’m making fun of that in my act. It seems like everyone has a Twitter and a Facebook, and everyone’s like, ‘Look at me! Look what I’m doing!’ ”
Friedlander hardly comes across as the spotlight seeker. As his most high-profile gig — working on “30 Rock” — comes to a close, he says he’ll miss the creative community but looks forward to having extra time for other projects.
“I like the future. I look forward to the future. It’s all cool,” he said. “I really look forward to have more time to focus on my stand-up, which is my favorite thing to do.”
He just seems to be a guy who loves his job, which may be why he takes such a low-key approach to the long days.
“Doing stand-up is probably the most relaxing thing I do,” he said. “It’s what I like doing the most, I think what I’m best at and what I’m most comfortable doing. Like if I’m exhausted or stressed out, I’ll be like, ‘I’m going to go out and do a couple shows.’ People are like, ‘What?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah,’ because that’s actually relaxing. That feels good.”
Chanu-Comedy: A Festival of Laughs
8 p.m. Saturday. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. 877-435-9849. $30, $25 in advance.