Torah Notes

Tomorrow’s guest on Luke Ford’s Torah Talk Live is Josh Alan Friedman.
9 AM pacific. Go to Luke’s channel to live chat.

He’s a blues guitarist and writer, who tells of being the only (((white))) kid in his school in his memoir Black Cracker

He worked for Screw magazine before they cleaned up Times Square, writing about it in Tales of Times Square. He’s the subject of the documentary Blacks and Jews–Josh Alan Friedman, A Life Obsessed with Negroes. He’s also written for National Lampoon magazine.

Josh and his brother Drew collaborated on satirical comic strips for a time:

The Friedman brothers joined forces in 1978 and began producing comic strips about second-tier celebrities like Wayne Newton, Ernest Borgnine, Tor Johnson, and the Three Stooges’ Shemp Howard for Heavy Metal and Screw. 

They would go on to place strips in National Lampoon, High Times, and RAW. Their success and influence led to the following description from Wikipedia: “The Friedman Bros. became the most-feared names in satirical cartooning. Their comics had a discernible influence on SCTV.

From Luke’s profile of him:

In the summer of 1981, Screw magazine Senior Editor Josh Alan Friedman noticed a beautiful blonde out his art director’s 11th-floor window in lower Manhattan. He yelled to her for her phone number and she yelled it back just before her roommates at the Markle Evangeline Hall (a dormitory for young Southern women going to school in New York) shut her mouth. 

Josh dialed and advised his future wife Peggy Bennett, “Don’t ever give out your phone number to strangers in this city.”
“Well, just who are y’all?”

“We’re Screw,” he said. “And thank God you gave your number to us. If you’d been across from Time-Life, you would have really fallen in with some perverts.”

Son of novelist (A Mother’s Kisses) and screenwriter (Stir Crazy) Bruce Jay Friedman, Josh grew up in Glen Cove.

Normally surrounded by movie stars and writers, Josh and his younger brother Drew were the only white kids from 1962-66 at the otherwise all-black South School.

“I had a powerful civil rights conscience,” says Bruce in the new documentary about Josh’s life — Blacks and Jews — named after the title cut of the blues guitarist’ s third album. “I kept pretending that there were two-or-three other semi-white kids.”

In a telling scene, Josh says to his mother Ginger, “I seem to recall that the first time Drew got beat up there, you said to dad, ‘Get my kid the hell out of that shvartze school.’ All of a sudden you weren’t a liberal.” 

Ginger blanches. “Of course. Once we saw that your lives were in danger…”

Since moving to Texas Josh has been a blues musician.


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