Jena Friedman is a former Daily Show field producer, an uncompromising stand-up comedian, and, as of this past year, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Now, she’s taking on the true crime industrial complex as the host of Indefensible on SundanceTV and AMC+. In this rare repeat appearance on The Last Laugh podcast, Friedman talks about exposing “crisis pregnancy centers” in Borat, weighs in on “missing white woman syndrome,” and shares her thoughts on the death of John McAfee, with whom she conducted the definitive interview for her previous show Soft Focus. When Friedman was on one of the first episodes of this podcast back in April of 2019, the headline that accompanied her appearance read, “‘Daily Show’ Badass Jena Friedman on Becoming the Feminist Sacha Baron Cohen.” As it turned out, that article was published on the very same day she started working on the top-secret sequel to Borat. “It came out on my first day working in his room and he saw it and I was like, oh my God…” Friedman says of Baron Cohen, laughing. It was an unfortunately ironic start to the job that would ultimately land her an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. “I mean, it’s just an honor to be vaccinated,” she jokes of her experience at the most bizarre Academy Award ceremony in years. “That’s all I was thinking at the time. And we’ve all had such a traumatic year, the last thing anybody wants is to see their friend at the Oscars. I was just very cognizant of that. And also of what the Oscars are, which is this very ostentatious display of everything wrong with our world.” It was Friedman’s idea to send Borat and his daughter Tutar, played by the similarly Oscar-nominated Maria Bakalova, into a “crisis pregnancy center” where the pastor who is working there suggests she keep her baby even after learning that her father is the one who “put it in her.” She recalls being in the writers’ room for the movie and one of her male colleagues saying “there’s no way” anyone would go that far. “But if you know these places, you know that they are zealots. They’re going to be OK with incest,” Friedman says. “And I think that the guys in the room, or just people who didn’t know about these centers, didn’t really get that it was as bad as it is. What was so exciting to me about that segment was just showing people on a large scale that these places exist, that what they do is so awful, that they’re allowed to do it and it’s only getting worse.” That scene has only become more disturbing in light of Texas’ abortion ban and the impending showdown over Roe v. Wade. “I just want to say, if there’s anyone listening who is in Texas, you can still get an abortion there,” Friedman says in the podcast before delivering one of her uniquely pointed punchlines. “You just have to call it ‘stand your ground.’” Creative criminal defenses have been on her mind of late as she has been editing the six episodes of Indefensible, which premieres this Thursday, Oct. 14 on SundanceTV and AMC+. Friedman is a self-described true crime obsessive but never thought about venturing into that space herself until the network saw her 2019 Conan set on the topic a . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: borat, woman, writer, jena, theyre, working, friedman, way, nancy, think, yeah, hipster, grace, say, women, know
LAW: Roe v. Wade
DATE: 2016, 2019, years, April of 2019, every Tuesday, this past year, the very same day, this Thursday, Oct. 14
ORDINAL: first, second
CARDINAL: one, six
WORK_OF_ART: Oscar, Daily Show, Daily Show’ Badass Jena Friedman