‘Borat’ Writer Jena Friedman Became the ‘Hipster Nancy Grace’

Jena Friedman is a former Each day Present subject producer, an uncompromising standup comic, and, as of this previous yr, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Now, she’s taking over the true crime industrial complicated because the host of Indefensible on SundanceTV and AMC+.

On this uncommon repeat appearance on The Last Laugh podcast, Friedman talks about exposing “disaster being pregnant facilities” in Borat, weighs in on “lacking white girl syndrome,” and shares her ideas on the death of John McAfee, with whom she carried out the definitive interview for her earlier present Smooth Focus.

When Friedman was on one of the first episodes of this podcast again in April of 2019, the headline that accompanied her look learn, “‘Daily Show’ Badass Jena Friedman on Becoming the Feminist Sacha Baron Cohen.” Because it turned out, that article was printed on the exact same day she began engaged on the top-secret sequel to Borat.

“It got here out on my first day working in his room and he noticed it and I used to be like, oh my God…” Friedman says of Baron Cohen, laughing. It was an sadly ironic begin to the job that may finally land her an Oscar nomination for Greatest Tailored Screenplay.

“I imply, it’s simply an honor to be vaccinated,” she jokes of her expertise on the most bizarre Academy Award ceremony in years. “That’s all I used to be considering on the time. And we’ve all had such a traumatic yr, the very last thing anyone desires is to see their pal on the Oscars. I used to be simply very cognizant of that. And in addition of what the Oscars are, which is that this very ostentatious show of all the things flawed with our world.”

It was Friedman’s concept to ship Borat and his daughter Tutar, performed by the equally Oscar-nominated Maria Bakalova, right into a “disaster being pregnant middle” the place the pastor who’s working there suggests she preserve her child even after studying that her father is the one who “put it in her.”

She recollects being within the writers’ room for the film and one among her male colleagues saying “there’s no means” anybody would go that far. “But when you understand these locations, you understand that they’re zealots. They’re going to be OK with incest,” Friedman says. “And I feel that the fellows within the room, or simply individuals who didn’t learn about these facilities, didn’t actually get that it was as unhealthy as it’s. What was so thrilling to me about that section was simply displaying individuals on a big scale that these locations exist, that what they do is so terrible, that they’re allowed to do it and it’s solely getting worse.”

That scene has solely grow to be extra disturbing in mild of Texas’ abortion ban and the approaching showdown over Roe v. Wade. “I simply need to say, if there’s anybody listening who’s in Texas, you’ll be able to nonetheless get an abortion there,” Friedman says within the podcast earlier than delivering one among her uniquely pointed punchlines. “You simply must name it ‘stand your floor.’”

Artistic prison defenses have been on her thoughts of late as she has been enhancing the six episodes of Indefensible, which premieres this Thursday, Oct. 14 on SundanceTV and AMC+. Friedman is a self-described true crime obsessive however by no means considered venturing into that house herself till the community noticed her 2019 Conan set on the subject and approached her about growing one thing.

“I used to be like, I don’t know if that’s doable,” she recollects. “After which COVID occurred and I used to be like, something’s doable!”

The primary episode facilities round knowledgeable witnesses, who ship what she describes as “clinically misogynistic” testimony on behalf of males who kill their companions, as exemplified within the unique clip from the premiere episode under.

“It’s certainly not a comedy present,” she says. “We’re actually creating a brand new style, a hybrid style. It’s arduous for me to say it’s a comedy present as a result of I’ve met all these individuals and so they’re actual individuals. However yeah, as a result of I’m a comic and since I take pleasure in a lot making an attempt to make mild out of the darkness, there are moments of levity for certain.”

Discovering comedy within the darkest corners of society is one thing Friedman excelled at in her earlier present Smooth Focus on Grownup Swim, which featured what ended up offering the definitive interview with 2016’s second-most controversial presidential candidate, John McAfee. She maintained an odd friendship of types with McAfee through Twitter DM till his recent suicide in a Spanish prison.

“Do I feel he killed himself?” she asks of the QAnon conspiracy theories surrounding his death. “I imply, it’s probably the most libertarian method to go, so yeah, certain.” Noting that he was an alleged assassin and rapist, she provides, “My vibe from him, and I could possibly be flawed, is that he was an eccentric character and I by no means felt unsafe trolling him.” After I ask why, she jokes, “As a result of I’m an fool?”

Do I feel he killed himself? I imply, it’s probably the most libertarian method to go, so yeah, certain.

Indefensible may even discover “missing white woman syndrome” and the way marginalized girls, whether or not they’re girls of shade or indigenous girls or intercourse employees, are ignored by the press. “After they disappear, after they’re murdered, the media doesn’t choose up their tales,” she says.

On the identical time, she does view the Gabby Petito case as uniquely “tragic” in its personal proper. “If Brian Laundrie goes to trial—and now I sound like a hipster Nancy Grace, which I’m absolutely comfy being—he is probably not convicted,” Friedman says, referring to America’s most unhinged legal commentator. “For those who don’t have a witness, if the physique has been decomposing and you’ll’t show that he killed her, I hate to say it, however he’s doing all the things proper when it comes to what males ought to do to not go to jail for his or her crimes.”

“The opposite factor that we’re not speaking about as a lot, I feel, is simply the concept of the cops and their function on this,” Friedman provides. “I feel lots of people have been saying the cops have a tough time recognizing indicators of home violence. It’s like, no, they know them. They see it from the opposite aspect.”

Then comes the inevitable darkish joke: “How do you prepare a police power to acknowledge indicators of home violence? Simply go, ‘Hey, if you happen to see a lady who appears to be like at you want your spouse does…’”

Take heed to the episode now and subscribe to ‘The Last Laugh’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts and be the primary to listen to new episodes when they’re launched each Tuesday.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/borat-writer-jena-friedman-became-the-hipster-nancy-grace?supply=articles&through=rss | ‘Borat’ Author Jena Friedman Grew to become the ‘Hipster Nancy Grace’


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: clarefora@interreviewed.com.

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