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A world-class loser in films, Friedlander is a champ onstage

Judah Friedlander is better than you at just about anything. Martial arts, soccer, making lemonade. Just ask him. That's why he gets to wear his ever-present ''World Champion" trucker hat onstage. Unlike many of his fellow comics, Friedlander's life couldn't be better.

''A lot of comics talk about how the world is insane and twisted," says Friedlander, who plays the Comedy Connection tonight and tomorrow. ''I don't. Everything works out great for me. I'm the one who's twisted and insane."

It would be a stretch to describe Friedlander as subtle. He struts the stage with white-trash bravado, sideburns it would take a machete to cut through, and big, square glasses like twin television screens. There's an element of playful parody to his act, which he says is partly inspired by the arrogance of celebrities like Steven Seagal and professional athletes who celebrate even the most modest of accomplishments.

''There's all this self-publicity," he says. ''So a lot of my stuff actually makes fun of that, too. I don't comment on it, but if you look at it, that's what's going on."

The ''World Champion" is an act, and on the phone, Friedlander is well spoken and unassuming. Still, he says there's an element of the real Judah in his stage persona. ''That pretty much is me," he says. ''That's how I'm acting, that's how I'm looking at the world. And yeah, I like playing with that blur."

Friedlander's ability to lose himself in a character has made him a busy actor. He has roles in eight films currently in the pipeline. There's ''Duane Hopwood" with David Schwimmer and Janeane Garofalo, ''Date Movie" from the writers of ''Scary Movie," ''The Darwin Awards" with Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder, and of course, ''Feast," the product of the last ''Project Greenlight" series on Bravo.

Friedlander plays a wide range of losers on-screen. Some of them aren't even comic roles. ''I prefer to do comedy, but I do dramatic stuff, too," he says. ''I usually play some kind of idiot or psychopath."

Though he has proven himself a versatile character actor -- his Toby in ''American Splendor" was pitch perfect -- his ambitions lie in his stand-up. He's working on a CD he hopes to have out early next year and would love to have his own stand-up movie or DVD. His acting work and regular appearances on VH1's ''Best Week Ever" help to pay the bills, but he'd rather be a ''World Champion" than a TV or film star.

''I've gotten more national exposure through acting stuff, but stand-up's still my main thing," he says. ''I never got into stand-up to get a sitcom. I got into stand-up to do stand-up comedy."

Judah Friedlander performs at the Comedy Connection tonight at 8 and tomorrow night at 8:15 and 10:15. Call 617-248-9700 or visit

Comics find a new home
Comics Come Home leaves its home of 10 years when it moves from the Orpheum to the Agganis Arena tomorrow. According to Andrew Osofsky, director of operations at the Cam Neely Foundation, the decision was purely a financial one. At roughly 5,500 seats, the Agganis allows the Neely Foundation to sell almost twice as many tickets, drop their lowest ticket price, and raise more money for charity in the process. ''There were plenty of people who used to call and say, 'We couldn't get tickets,' " says Osofsky. ''So this opened the door to allow a lot more people to enjoy the show."

With Cam Neely in the Hockey Hall of Fame and host Denis Leary's success with his FX show ''Rescue Me," tickets were almost sold out as of yesterday. This year's bill also includes Lenny Clarke, Colin Quinn, Bill Burr, Adam Ferrara, Jim Lauletta, Patrice O'Neal, Brian Regan, Ken Rogerson, and Steve Sweeney.

Paving way to the majors
Fresh off the success of this summer's ''The Heart of a Rhino," comic rocker Robby Roadsteamer has signed to Mass Appeal Records, a subsidiary of Universal. A new album, including some old favorites, new material, and a DVD, is slated for an early 2006 release.

Around town
Peter Dutton plays his last Boston date before moving to Los Angeles at the Comedy Studio tonight, with Baratunde, Alex Foolski, Bob Hagearty, Tim Kaelin, Tom E. Morello, the Steamy Bohemians, Greg Thibideau, and Joe Wong. . . . Tommy Morin (a.k.a. ''The Manic Hispanic") brings his one-man show to the Comedy Connection for a 6 p.m. show tomorrow. . . . Frank Santorelli, Steve Sweeney, and Dick Doherty play Steve Sweeney's Comedy Café tomorrow.

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