Q&A: Judah Friedlander on Donald Trump, Getting Political with New Book

The comedian is bringing his If the Raindrops United book tour to Boston.

Judah Friedlander will be stopping by the Brattle Theatre on Monday to show off his latest book, If the Raindrops United: Drawings and Cartoons.

The new work is an assortment of satirical cartoons that can be extremely funny and, at times, quite political. Friedlander admits that his comedy has evolved into being more socially aware over the years.

” I’ve been doing a lot of bits that deal with different human rights issues and social issues,” he says. “I try to look at the bigger issues of government oppression and human rights and look at things from that angle.”

Check out what the 30 Rock star has to say about getting political with his collection of drawings, why he love’s Anna’s Taqueria, and more.

Your book isn’t just filled with drawings that are funny. Some of them seem to be pretty political as well. Why did you feel the need to get political with your work?

The world champion persona that I have, it’s changed over the years from being this real life superhero, greatest athlete, karate master, sexiest being on the planet. The world champion has morphed into being not just that but a champion of the world, who fights for the rights of the people of the world and fights corruption. Also just a world traveler, as someone who knows the planet better than anyone else. In the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of bits that deal with different human rights issues and social issues. I try to look at the bigger issues of government oppression and human rights and look at things from that angle.

Which is the better hat design: your world champion hat or Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hat?

That’s an easy question to answer. Trump’s hats are horrendous. First of all, they are made in China, they’re not even made in America. Secondly, they’re red and white. What is he running for the president of Canada? Last time I checked, our colors were red, white, and blue. Look at my hats. They’re red, white, and blue and they got the flag on it. Trump doesn’t have a flag on it, only red and white. I think he’s try to be president of Canada.

The various presidential candidates have been making a huge push at reaching voters through late-night comedy shows like Fallon, Colbert, and SNL. What do you think about that?

I think there’s actually a lot of danger to that. Comedy can be a powerful thing, but comedy can also be used for good or for bad. Trump is a guy, he’s saying a lot of bad things. Not everything is bad, I think he’s actually saying some good things. But he’s saying a lot of bad things, and a fair amount of things that are flat out racist. When you have a show like Saturday Night Live that is promoting him going on the show, usually when candidates go on Saturday Night Live, they don’t make them look bad. If a candidate isn’t on the show, then they might make them look bad. Usually when they’re a guest, they make them look good. A lot of these candidates, when they show a sense of humor or be funny, sometimes that humanizes them and gets people to like them. But it’s often at the expense of knowing what they’r really about and what they’re views are and what they’re messages are. So I think that can be extremely dangerous.

You’re friend and 30 Rock co-star Tracy Morgan recently made his stand-up and SNL comeback. How great was it to see him return after such an awful injury?

I’m very happy for him. As I’m walking into the Comedy Cellar to do my set, he’s on stage. He popped in to do a guest set, and it was his first set since that accident. It’s great to see someone back and doing what they do.

You’re coming to Boston and are known to be an Anna’s Taqueria fan. Are you going to stop there on this trip?

Well there’s Felipe’s and Anna’s and they’re both great and I believe they’re nasty rivals, that’s what I’ve heard. I’ll definitely have to swing by there. I might be doing some ping pong before or after the event as well.

Judah Friedlander’s presentation and book signing is at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 26, at 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. Tickets can be purchased at harvard.com/event/judah_friedlander.