Kinky Friedman plays Bearsville this Saturday

Kinky Friedman (photo by Brian Kanof)

Perhaps there’s an old joke about a musician, a novelist, an animal-rights enthusiast and a politician walking into a bar. If the punchline is something about them all being the same person, it’s probably Kinky Friedman, the legendary Texan humorist who makes his first-ever appearance at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock this Saturday, June 23.

Friedman is currently in the middle of his Bi-Polar Tour (“It’s living up to its name,” he joked during a raucous telephone interview), entertaining audiences with solo renditions of songs from all stages of his illustrious career. “A lot of the old songs are carrying the day,” said Friedman, former frontman of Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. “‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews like Jesus Anymore’ is rapidly becoming an anthem against political correctness.”

Perhaps more than any other scourge blighting the landscape, political correctness seems to be Friedman’s great white whale. It hearkens back to his earliest days, when he took on social mores and racism with his music (much to the consternation of his parents) and famously recorded an episode of the classic television show Austin City Limits that was rumored to have been too offensive to air. He has also butted heads with feminists – another sign, he said, that political correctness has long been out of control.

Advertisement

“‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed’: It’s hard to imagine that we had to have a police escort to save the Jewboys from the lesbians on the University of Buffalo campus in 1973 over that song, but it’s true,” Friedman said. “The lesbians charged the stage and were wrecking the equipment, and they were fighting the Jewboys and winning. And the police had to give us an escort off the campus. And then I received the Chauvinist of the Year award in 1973 from the National Organization for Women – an award I’m still very proud of. There’s a plaque somewhere in my hope chest.”

Friedman said that he believes that political correctness is maybe even worse now than it has ever been. “For instance, if you and I went out to Hollywood with $200 million, we could not make Blazing Saddles today,” he said. “Everybody loves it, but we couldn’t make it because it’s racist. And I don’t think of that when I think of Woodstock, necessarily. I think it’s pretty pervasive across the country. If a young Richard Pryor turned up, you couldn’t make a star of him today. You couldn’t do it no matter how gifted you are as a manager. He would be at best a Kinky Friedman, or a Warren Zevon or Gram Parsons. And those are important people; but part of the problem is the whole culture is into a whole Barry Manilow bubble right now. We want to feel good for a short amount of time. We don’t want to think.”

Friedman attempted to become the governor of Texas in 2006, but was defeated at the polls. He said that he’s considering another run in time for the 2014 election, and he said that he believes that if he can win the Democratic primary, he stands a good chance of unseating the incumbent Republican in office. He said that his opponents are missing the point with their criticism. “They’ve been talking about, ‘Do we really want a clown in the governor’s office?’” he said, “and I say we’ve already had one for 12 years in Rick Perry.”

Friedman, with special guests Mikhail Horowitz & Gilles Malkine, performs at the Bearsville Theater on Saturday, June 23, with the doors opening at 8 p.m. and the show beginning at 9 p.m. Following his performance, Friedman will sign books and music, much of which he’ll have on sale. Tickets for the show cost $30 for seated general admission. For more information, visit www.bearsvilletheater.com and www.kinkyfriedman.com, or by calling (845) 679-4406.

Post Your Thoughts