Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
A daily reminder that Andy Friedman was here, once upon a time, is the print of Larry David that he drew and gave us, which is propped against my desk and the wall, at the studio - right next to the scribbled rabbit in a rainstorm that my oldest daughter made. It's a profile of David, with an exaggerated head and a tiny torso, looking as if he were about to spew about this thing or that which ruffles his feathers and gets his goat. There are some similarities in the flustered state that David is usually in on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the flustered state that Friedman sometimes finds himself in, but more so, the main difference is that those things that Friedman - who also happens to be one of America's finest illustrators - gets bothered by are substantial. They are worth giving a fuss about. They carry properties that immediately give them more of a priority and more of a stature. They are matters of self disgust. No, not really disgust. It borders on that, but it's more frustration that nothing's easy.
It's frustration that a person can actually leave himself with another person, or in another place, without ever having done so physically. There's nothing but a memory and a torn blue sweatshirt left behind, in some diner, in some state like Idaho or Colorado or New Mexico, in a place that might not even be findable. It's frustration that one can feel mostly in control, but still on the ropes.
Friedman sings that he understands more and more every year what made Van Gogh cut his ear off. He understands more and more every year, why D.H. Lawrence's books were banned, why Richard Manuel couldn't take it any longer, why there can be no real comfort. He sings, "I can't understand what it's like to be booed by millions of adoring fans/But, one thing I know is what it's like to be booed by 16 or 17 undergrads."
Everyone's got their own version of disappointment. For some of those people, that disappointment becomes something else, something better. Other people are stuck with the reverberating thought, as Friedman sings, "Funny how fast the curtain falls on weary things it takes a lifetime to make."
Andy Friedman Official Site