US GIG ALERT - Sunday, November 19th 7pm - Turning Point ORDER TIX
So, anyway... as I explained briefly in an earlier newsletter, I get a call a few months ago from a producer of some TV show in the UK. They're doing a new sitcom for SKY TV called "The Baddiel Syndrome" featuring comedian and writer David Baddiel. Turns out David had written a script for an episode of the series in which the cast winds up at a Dean Friedman concert, accidentally befriends him and wind up hanging out with him. I mean... with me. It was also explained to me that this was more than just a singing cameo and that I would have to do a considerable amount of comedic acting. Oh, and they were gonna pay me too! 'Well,' I thought, 'get paid to act like myself? Hey, I can do that!'
I accepted the gig and went about preparing for my first big sitcom guest appearance.
First, I thought, I'll have to really get into the part. You know, really become Dean Friedman. Not just talk like Dean Friedman and dress like Dean Friedman, but actually learn how to think like Dean Friedman. To actually be Dean Friedman! That, I realized, was going to be the secret to doing a convincing job of playing with myself... I mean, PLAYING myself!
And so I practiced every day, to get into the role, you understand. I would get up in the morning and say to myself, 'Now, what would Dean do right about now?' And I would go back to bed for an hour. I'd sit down to try and balance my checkbook and think, 'Now, how would Dean approach this dilemma?' Then, I'd put the checkbook back in the drawer and play some guitar.
One night I was trying to get some work done on the computer when Alison came downstairs looking kinda bored and feeling neglected and wanting a little attention, acting downright nudgy, in fact. 'How come you're always working on your computer?', she pouted.
O.K. I thought to myself, how would Dean Friedman handle this? Hmmmmm....
Got it! I took out my guitar and sang her a song, of course. She got all misty eyed and melted right into my arms. It did the trick - she was happy, stopped distracting me and I was finally able to get some work done.
As I spent more and more time trying to get inside Dean Friedman's head, I gradually felt a growing sense of understanding about why he does the things he does; the odd compulsion to build Boobles, Honkblatts and Boing-D-Boings; even the Sneaker Car started to make some weird, crazy kind of automotive/footwear sense. I found myself coming up with embarrassingly, over-the-top rhymes. It all started out innocently enough but then, eventually, things started to get a little out of control.
Without realizing it... I had BECOME Dean Friedman.
I won't frighten you with the harrowing details but suffice to say that, to misquote a certain celebrity frog, who my singing style has been compared to, 'It's not easy being Dean.'
Having said that, guest starring on the 'Baddiel Syndrome' was enormous fun. The talented cast and crew were friendly and supportive, and even though I explained that my acting experience had been limited to playing Rabbi Schlamazel at the annual Chanukah Concert for Kids and Aunt Abby in my high school production of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (it was an all boy school), they seemed to think I did a very credible job of playing myself.
The series goes out on SKY TV towards the end of this year but my episode won't air until February sometime. I'll let you know as soon as it's scheduled. The show is hysterically funny, by the way (even though I'm the butt of half the jokes), so, definitely, check it out. Just be forewarned that the Dean Friedman I play is a totally oblivious, self-absorbed, egomaniacal, yet good-natured, popstar. Typecasting, of course.
As if that weren't humbling enough, while I was there, the BBC aired an episode of its popular series 'I Love The '70's', a 10 part documentary on pop culture of the '70's. I was featured along with Linda Carter/Wonderwoman and the electronic music toy 'Simon', thus emphatically confirming my '70's 'icon' status (whatever the hell that means). My segment started out with some funny bits including a reenactment of a childhood playground memory featuring a 9 year old, moptop, guitar-strumming Deano look-alike singing in the school playground surrounded by a circle of little girls. It quickly devolved into a pretty acerbic piece with one interviewee describing me as sounding like '...a Jewish duck.' Now, if I were I duck, I'd definitely be a Jewish one, but I'm pretty sure he didn't intend it as a compliment. They did admit, begrudgingly, that, back then, if you wanted to impress a girl, playing a heavy metal album would get you the cold shoulder, '...but if you put on a Dean Friedman record she'd let you shag her.' I'll take that as a compliment. I mean, anytime one of my songs can help some guy get laid...
I did have the temerity to rhyme 'dumb' with 'glum' in a pop song, but, even so, I'm still not sure exactly what I did to to generate such passionate opinions about my music (I guess it could be the haircut). If anyone has a viable theory, let me know, because, frankly, I don't have a clue why all this bizarre stuff keeps happening.
The London gig at the Spitz and the Boat Race in Cambridge both went really well, that is, I remembered most of the lyrics and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I had a great time and look forward to going back again in March 2001 when I'll be touring all over England, Scotland and hopefully Ireland too. I'll let you know as soon as the dates are all confirmed.
As for the US, I'll be performing at the TURNING POINT in Piermont, NY on Sunday
November 19, 2000 [early showtime 7pm]. Tickets are $25 ORDER TICKETS. The Turning Point is a nice, intimate venue located a few miles south of the Tappanzee Bridge on the NJ side of the Hudson. Check out the website for TICKETS and DIRECTIONS.
And speaking of Rabbi Schlamazel, I just confirmed the date for the annual CHANUKAH CONCERT FOR KIDS. This year it will be held at the Yorktown Stage Theater in Yorktown Heights, NY on Sunday afternoon, December 24th at 2:00pm. . Tickets are $10 (Kids under 3, free).TICKETS and DIRECTIONS. The Chanukah show is an hour long, fun and music filled Chanukah celebration featuring giant puppets - Larry the Latke and Murray the Matzoh Ball - an assortment of silly props - giant dreidels and menorah - plus colorful costumes. The show includes silly Hebrew School songs such as, If I Was A Dreidel, Love My Latkes and A Million Matzoh Balls. The wise and learned Rabbi Schlamazel is rumored to be making an appearance, although you never know as he has a tendency to get lost wherever he goes.
Meanwhile, I'm glad to be home, and enjoying the brisk autumn weather. I've already dug out my dark wool hat and gloves from out of the bottom of the closet. My daughter Hannah complains I look like a cat-burglar when I wear the stuff, which, coincidentally, has always been my second career choice. Something to fall back on, just in case this music business thing doesn't work out.
Take care of yourselves, everybody.