A few years ago, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys were onstage in San Francisco, in full scatological and anti-ethnic swing.

They had donned feathered American Indian headdresses for "The Ballad of Ira Hayes." As Friedman picked up his rubber tomahawk, Indian activist Buffy Ste. Marie stormed indignantly onto the stage, grabbed his warbonnet off his head and stomped on it.

As she walked away, the silence settled like matzo dough. Finally, in a heavily sarcastic, reverential, faithhealer tone, Friedman sighed, "If we can just reach one person . . ."

Only a few weeks ago, a Jewish couple walked out on Friedman's nowregular Sunday night show at New York's Lone Star Cafe. The only way out at the Lone Star is smack past the stage, no subtety possible in any case, and the woman, offended by Friedman's apparent anti-Semitism, was screaming. "You're not a real Jew! That's terrible!"

But this time, Friedman said only, "This is what they would have heard if they'd stayed"-and launched into an anthem to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

"For the first time, I really exercised some compassion instead of putting them down," Friedman recalls, emphatically waving a bottle of Thai beer. "And I had the audience completely hooked."

Kinky Friedman-the latest in a succession of American iconoclasts-had been making bias into bucks for a long time.Author of "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore" and "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," he has satirized every racial and religious minority in the country.

The son of a wealthy Jewish family from Houston, he started out respectably as a classics major and Peace Corps volunteer. He grew disllusioned when his tenure in Borneo consisted primarily of introducing the Frisbee, and he returned to assault the sensibilities of the Nashville and then Hollywood musical establishments.

In the early 1970s, he developed a strong cult following and an acid tongue, floundered through a handful of unsuccessful albums and generally splintered his karma with a combination of drugs and misanthropy.

But now, at 34, Kinky Friedman has had, you should pardon the expression, an epiphany. The Peck's Bad Boychik of country music, the Grand Menorah of glitter rock, "the man who put a sixth point on the Lone Star" has finally discovered the Great Middle-American dream-suburbia.

He has shaken the dust of those upstart music-biz haunts-outlaw Austin, spangled Nashville and Concept City, Los Angeles-off his hand-tooled, stars-and-stripes boots and headed for the wide open spaces of Westchester County.

"For the first time I have a house of my own, a pink '58 Cadillac, a fireplace and a pool table. I have a Broadway show [in development], a bunch of TV shots and the Lone Star Cafe. I'm confident and I'm in control . . . It's not anywhere on my list of priorities to get a record deal right now."

Along with compassion and suburban peace, Friedman has discovered America-and he loves it. America, and a women in L.A., and himself. America he sees in the crazy-quilt of "rednecks, Jews, blacks and recidivists" who fill the Lone Star every Sunday. He keeps in touch with his woman by watching her favorite soap operas, "All My Children" and "General Hospital": "It's a way of staying together when we're apart." The appreciation in his personal worth he takes for granted: It's all in the eye of the beholder, anyway.

"My work is more important to the world and to myself than to some TV network or record company. I can relate to the confusion of the times the way Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen did."

Friedman, who breezed through Washington's Cellar Door for two nights this week, punctuates his sentences with short stabbing motions-with his cigarette, his cigar (still with the colored paper ring around it), his chopsticks. If he were wearing his heavy big-brimmed cowboy hat, he'd spin it over the back of his hand or snap his finger along the feather in the hat band. From time to time his eyes flicker toward the mirror directly across from him, but his expression never changes: There is neither reassurance nor question in his reflection.

"I'm shooting for human vulnerability at all times," he says, explaining in part why he has packed off his old back-up group, the Texas Jewboys, while he wanders in a musical hegira with pick-up bands and borrowed sidemen. "People hate corny stuff but they love hokey. And at the moment I know that I've struck a chord there, and it's coming back to me."

His audiences at the Lone Star have grown more fervent and more mixed. Celebrities-the one other minority that Friedman especially enjoys taking down a peg-are also in attendance these days: "Jackie O.," New York Yankee pitcher Goose Gossage, talk-show host Stan Seigel, songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker. "It's reminiscent of the early Greenwich Village scene, like a microcosm of New York."

Dressed in fringed cowboy shirts, fuchsia sequined suspenders, white-lame jackets and his Old Glory boots, Friedman lashes his audiences with a cat-o'-nine-tails of slander, innuendo, and good-ole-boy racis/sexist-reachtionary humor.

He recommends four "very thin books": "Great Italian War Heroes," "500 Years of German Humor," "Jewish Business Ethies" and, his "personal favorite," Black Yachtsmen I Have Known." Or sums up Texas social realities in a double-edged understatement: "I'm the only Jewish entertainer from Texas-except Tom Landry."

His comments on himself range from shrewd to silly. "I'll build my career on the tombstones of Waylon and Willie." "The same people who like Robin Hood and Castro like me." "My New Year's resolution is to be as big as Elton John." "I can't be corrupted-I'm as big an ass-as I'll ever be."

For all his sarcasm, he is deadly serious about his songwriting. He's recorded for three different companies, and none quite knew how to handle him. But while he makes rueful jokes about it-"My current label is Brooks Brothers"-he says firmly that he won't record again until he's ready, and then only on his own terms. Two producers he mentions as possible collaborators are Donald Fagan of Steely Dan and Lowell George of Little Feat.

His lyrics, always catchy and sly, are growing warmer.In "Marilyn and Joe," he recalls "a place where you can go where Marilyn still dances with DiMaggio ." And his newest, "The Homecoming Hero of 1984," he thinks is "high poetry":

He was a good, God-fearin', wonderful American

Born with a plastic spoon ,

He let a painted gal in a hotel towel

Lead him down the road to ruin .

Here's to Uncle Sam, here's to Billy Graham ,

Lord, they know not what they're doin' .

But I ain't gonna be no Christian Soldier anymore ,

Said the homecomin ' hero of 1984.

In the meantime, the Lone Star arrangement is netting him more money than he ever made before, when his money was "thrown away on hotels and airlines." The club plans to open a second facility in London soon, and then Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Friedman is already set to open the London club; he will probably work most of the others.

"Except Frankfurt," he Grouchos. "I'7 boycotting Germany and the White House."

The Broadway project, the love story of a Jewish cowboy from Paradise, Tex., and a waitress, will feature music and lyrics by one Richard Friedman and will star the redoubtable Kinky himself.

"I can't wait to be a Broadway star," he says, spitting out the cigar end. "That's gonna be a ball."

He winds up his spiel on a deliberate upbeat. Yes, he's had a hard time with record companies and TV executives (he recalls being cut out of an appearance on "Saturday Night Live") and straight-arrow club owners (like the Dallas man who had his "goons" drag Friedman offstage in mid-song and then paid him off at gunpoint), but he hasn't "a quantum of bitterness" about it all.

"My goal this year, and every year from now on, is to be a happy American," schticking into a hick Texas accent. "And a fool-the world needs more fools." CAPTION: Picture, Kinky Friedman, by James K. W. Atherton-The Washington Post