/ 20 September 2012

Deep fried funny man

Daniel Friedman
Daniel Friedman

A former crowd-puller in the alternative folk scene in Johannesburg, Friedman was voted Best Newcomer at the first annual Comics Choice Awards last year. This is after he was a joint winner of the 2010 Parkers Comedy Showdown, hosted by comedian Joe Parker. Apart from sharing stages with Pablo Francisco, Mo Mandel and Iliza Shlesinger and local comedian Loyiso Gola, he has been a supporting act for this year’s Comics' Choice Awards winner Trevor Noah's one man show, Scratch, showing at the Jo'burg Theatre Fringe.

Why "Deep Fried Man"?
It's a play on words because my surname is Friedman. But I do have a weakness for deep fried food. My comedy is not low GI or free of trans fatty acids. It is delicious, but probably quite bad for you.

How different is your musical comedy different from regular stand-up comedy?
Normally comedy is just a guy walking around a stage with a microphone telling jokes. In this case it's a guy standing in one place with a guitar and a microphone singing songs. Songs that will ideally make you laugh out loud, or at very least smile quietly to yourself.

Tell me more about your upcoming show White Whine.
It's me with a new bunch of satirical songs about South Africa, with some visuals and sketch comedy thrown in. It's more political than any of my shows before. It's one part me making fun of myself and white people in general, one part my perspective on life in South Africa as set to music and another part musical comedy about whatever strange topics are on my mind.

What do you usually joke about?
My comedy usually centres around self-deprecation, South African politics, South African culture, being white, being Jewish, sex (although this time round I tried to go easy on the sex songs), social media, living in South Africa, living on Earth and living in the universe. My comedy is a mixture of original, satirical songs and parodies of famous songs.   

What makes a joke funny?
It's pretty subjective, I think good timing plus taking an idea and turning it on its head plus telling your joke to someone who understands it, gets it and appreciates it equals funny. But I'm not some kind of laughter scientist or LOLologist. My own sense of humour sometimes centres on the quirky and bizarre, and at other times delights in walking a fine line between being witty, insightful, honest and being rude or offensive and controversial.  

Are you ever serious, and when?
On the third Wednesday of every month in between noon and a quarter past twelve I take time out to think about deep and complex issues including death, quantum physics and the outcome of the current season of SA Idols.

Aren't you afraid of being seen as a laughing stock?
To me, being a comedian means not being afraid to make a fool of myself. You get some comedians who are smooth and charming, but I'm more the strange, awkward type of comedian. I constantly say embarrassing things and get into embarrassing situations, which make the people around me cringe, but I don't cringe because I find I'm used to it and nothing really embarrasses me. So maybe I am a laughing stock at times, but I get paid to be a laughing stock, so I like to think that I'm having the last laugh.

Tell me a joke or two.
I dated a blind girl. She dumped me. She said to me:  "I want to hear, smell, taste and touch other people"

I saw snow in the streets of Jo'burg. I gave him R5, but only after he sang Informer.

Catch Deep Fried Man in White Whine at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square from the  September 19 to 21.