Jena Friedman

Jena Friedman is an American stand up comedian, writer, and filmmaker. She has been a field producer[1] at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman.[2] She developed the television project Soft Focus with Jena Friedman for Adult Swim, the first installment of which premiered in February 2018.[3]

Jena Friedman
Jena Friedman in 2017 (cropped).jpg
Friedman performing Nerdmelt Theater in Los Angeles, January 2017
BornHaddonfield, New Jersey
MediumStand up, writer, director
GenresDark comedy

Early lifeEdit

Friedman was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey and was raised in a Conservative Jewish household.[4] She studied anthropology at Northwestern University. After graduation, she worked as a healthcare consultant for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[5]


She has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,[6] The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,[7] National Geographic Explorer,[8] MSNBC,[9] and BBC Two.[citation needed] She has also been a contributing writer to The New Yorker.[10]

In 2007, she wrote The Refugee Girls Revue, a satire inspired by American Girl dolls. The play earned critical acclaim in the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival[11] and had a successful run Off-Broadway. In 2010, she received a cease and desist letter from The New York Times for parodying their wedding videos. The parody, titled Ted and Gracie, has since become a popular web series.

In 2015, Friedman's solo show American Cunt, premiered in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to critical acclaim.[12][13][14] The magazine Paste named American Cunt one of the 10 Best Stand Up Comedy Specials of 2016.[15] She created Soft Focus with Jena Friedman, a series of Adult Swim specials that she also co-executive produces, directs, and hosts. The specials include interviews with John McAfee, the American software entrepreneur and Presidential hopeful,[16][17] as well as Gilberto Valle, New York City police officer who was convicted of a conspiracy to kidnap, cook, and eat women, better known as the “Cannibal Cop.”[18][19] The second installment premiered in January 2019.

In 2020, Friedman contributed to the screenplay of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, earning a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[20][21]


  1. ^ Irvin, Zuri. "Writing Jokes with Jena Friedman". Medium. Retrieved August 8, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ McGlynn, Katla (July 18, 2011). "David Letterman Hires Jena Friedman, 'The Late Show' Gains Second Female Writer". HuffPost. Retrieved September 1, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "What's a nice Jewish girl doing telling jokes like that?". Jewish United Fund.
  5. ^ "Jena Friedman: The star of 'The Daily Show' on abortion jokes, her Ebola comedy film, and her serial-killer spoof". The Independent. Retrieved February 7, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Bradley, Laura. "The Moment Election Night Stopped Being Funny". HWD. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Panel - What's Driving the Hillary Clinton Haters? - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore". Comedy Central. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  8. ^ Outsourced With Jena Friedman, March 8, 2017, retrieved December 12, 2017 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Comedy in the age of Trump". MSNBC. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  10. ^ Friedman, Jena (January 2, 2017). "A Recipe". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Otto, Emily (August 17, 2008). "The Refugee Girls Revue: A Musical Parody". Retrieved September 1, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Comedy review: Jena Friedman – American C*** (From Herald Scotland)". August 23, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Arsenault, Bridget (September 3, 2015). "7 Comedians from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival You Need to Know About Now". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Jena Friedman - American C*nt - Edinburgh Festival 2015". August 30, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "The 10 Best Stand-up Comedy Specials of 2016". Paste. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "Jena Friedman's "Soft Focus": Dark feminist comedy, aimed at young men". Salon. January 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Jena Friedman Talks Her Adult Swim Special, "Soft Focus with Jena Friedman 2"".
  18. ^ "New York's 'cannibal cop' released after judge overturns 2013 conviction".
  19. ^ Linda Yang, Broadly/, March 1, 2018, Jena Friedman Helps the 'Cannibal Cop' Find Love in Her New Show, Retrieved March 3, 2019, "...The show’s second segment ... focus on finding love for ... the “Cannibal Cop.” ... she helps Valle select a lady by asking them questions like, "How fast do you run?"...."
  20. ^ Vilas-Boas, Eric (October 21, 2020). "'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' Is a Targeted Takedown of America's Worst". Retrieved October 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Tudor, Jim (October 23, 2020). "Review: BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM Ambushes Amazon". Retrieved October 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit