8 Cartoonist Drew Friedman: Not an Old Jewish Comedian… yet! PODCAST INTERVIEW

Today’s Guest: Drew Friedman, cartoonist, Old Jewish Comedians

Drew Friedman, cartoonist, Old Jewish Comedians, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘Old Jewish Comedians’ by Drew Friedman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

I have enjoyed the illustrations of Drew Friedman for many, many years. He has going for him what many artists can only dream of – a distinctive style and, if you will, a voice that sets his work apart.

Depending upon your age and interests, you’ve no doubt seen Friedman’s work somewhere, including the National Lampoon, Spy, and the New York Observer.

When Drew draws a satirical picture, it always screams with attitude. There is no subtlety involved.

Drew Friedman WebsiteFacebookBlogWikipedia

BOB ANDELMAN: Drew, thanks for joining us this week.

DREW FRIEDMAN: Thanks, Bob, nice to be here.

ANDELMAN: Thanks. Now, your new book is Old Jewish Comedians, so I have to ask you, why old Jewish comedians? Why not capture them in their youth?

FRIEDMAN: There have been other books about Jewish comedians, actually a lot of them, but I wanted to sort of bring a different spin into that world and capture sort of a melancholy-ness about them that you don’t really see elsewhere. Also, I enjoy drawing older people, because there is more character in the faces, and it is just more interesting for me to draw older people with all those lines, so that was part of it, too. Basically the fact that a lot of these guys were forgotten, also, throughout their entire careers, like basically added up to nothing. Some of them were incredibly famous throughout their careers, but I also drew a lot of people who nobody ever heard of, including Menasha Skulnik, who is the one guy who everybody says, who is he, except people over 50 sort of remember him.

ANDELMAN: And who was he, because you’re right, I like to think that I know a lot of these guys, but that name went right by me.

FRIEDMAN: I didn’t even know who he was, either. I saw him photographed in an old Player’s Guide, which was a book of just actors and comedians and who used to advertise in this book called The Players’ Guide. I think it still comes out, but his face was in there, and I sort of googled him and got some information. It turns out he was incredibly famous in his day, mainly in the Yiddish theater, but he was a comic actor, and he also turned up on Ed Sullivan, and he was on Broadway into the 1960s. I think he died around 1970, but he was hugely popular. Now, he’s completely forgotten except for my aunt and uncle remember him, and my father said, “Of course I remember him!” And usually people over 50 will, it will register, but anybody under 50, they have no idea who he was.

ANDELMAN: Why just Jews, by the way?

FRIEDMAN: Well, can you think of any non-Jews who are funny? Somebody said, “You could do an Old Protestant Comedian book,” and I said, “Well, that would be a pamphlet, wouldn’t it?” I can think of a few. Bob Hope was funny, of course, and Charlie Chaplin, claimed he was Jewish; I think he was half Jewish, and Jackie Gleason and Lou Costello. There is a handful of them, but across the board, it mainly comes down to Jewish guys. In fact, there are so many that I am doing a sequel that will be out next year called More Old Jewish Comedians. This book is only 35 pages, so I had to sort of pick and choose my favorites.

ANDELMAN: Who did you miss in the first book that you’ll have in the second book?

Even More Old Jewish Comedians, Drew Friedman
Order ‘Even More Old Jewish Comedians’ by Drew Friedman by clicking the book cover above!

FRIEDMAN: Oh, there is a long list. I have already started the book, but my rule is that to be qualified as old, you have to be past 70. My first rule for the first book was born before 1930, but I am sort of breaking that rule with the second book, because I am including Woody Allen in the second book, and he was born in 1936, so he’s a little younger.

ANDELMAN: See now, I went back and looked, because I got to the end of the book, and I thought, where’s Woody? He’s got to be close.

FRIEDMAN: Woody Allen. Part of the book is including their real name and then their show business name, so that’s basically the text in the book. I didn’t include biographies. Leonard Maltin wrote the introduction, and I thought that summed everything up nicely, but Woody Allen’s real name was Allan Stewart Konigsberg, and he was born in 1936, and he will be in the next book. The illustrations are already complete.

ANDELMAN: Nice Jewish boy from Coney Island, isn’t he?

FRIEDMAN: I think he’s from, I’m not sure, exactly. I’m not sure he’s from Coney Island, but I think he’s from… I don’t know exactly.

ANDELMAN: I’m reaching that point where I’m confusing his life with his movies now.

FRIEDMAN: There was another Jewish comedian born in Coney Island. It’s possible it was Sid Caesar, but …. That great scene, of course, in Annie Hall where he goes back to his home, the place in the rollercoaster.

ANDELMAN: Right, like under the rollercoaster.

FRIEDMAN: It’s weirdly ironic that you’re mentioning that, because I had relatives who lived in that rollercoaster, and that’s where they filmed the scene.


FRIEDMAN: Yeah, they were like second cousins to my mother, and they had that apartment under the roller coaster. It wasn’t the Cyclone, it was the Thunderbolt roller coaster, and we visited them when I was a kid, and it was exactly like Woody Allen portrayed it in the film where the rollercoaster would just, it was on, and then the people were sitting in the house and didn’t even react to it they were so used to it, so he captured that beautifully.

ANDELMAN: When you started on this, had you done some of these illustrations for something else and adapted them, or did you do this solely for the book?

FRIEDMAN: Everything we’ve done is just for this book, for that square format. This book is 10 x 10. It’s a hardcover, 10 x 10, and it sort of feels like a children’s book, like a storybook, but it’s a 10 x 10 hardcover. There are only thirty-five pages, but everything we’ve done specifically for the book. I’ve drawn some of the people before who appear in the book, like Jerry Lewis, I’ve drawn him a number of times. I’ve drawn Woody Allen a bunch of times and some of the other ones, but this was all for this book.

Drew Friedman R. Crumb Sketch 111711
Drew Friedman drew this R. Crumb sketch @ the International Society of Caricature Artists 2011 annual convention. (c) 2011 by Drew Friedman. All Rights Reserved.

ANDELMAN: Yeah, some of these really are obscure. Mousy Gardner and who’s the other one? Al Kelly. I don’t know who Al Kelly is.

FRIEDMAN: He’s pretty much forgotten, too. He was in one movie, one movie short, but he was a Friars’ guy. He had his career with the Friars’. He did like double talk. He was a double-talk comedian, so he would like come out as like an ambassador at a Friars’ roast and pretend to be a foreign dignitary, and he would get everything confused in his dialect. His dialect was off. It made no sense, but he was funny, but he is completely forgotten, also, although he wrote an autobiography that came out in the ’60s. But his real name was Abraham Kalish, and he changed it to Al Kelly, which certainly doesn’t sound Jewish. Part of this book, I didn’t want to sort of say I was outing some of these guys because they sort of changed their names, and a lot of them wanted to play down their Jewishness, but the book, again, I wasn’t trying to out them, but part of the charm and fun of the book is to have their real name included in there. I wasn’t even sure he was Jewish when I first thought, “Oh, Al Kelly, I guess he’s an Irish guy,” but it turned out his name was Abraham Kalish. And Mousie Garner was, he just died recently. He lived into his nineties, but he was a guy who was one of the, not the Three Stooges, but when the Three Stooges left, Ted Healy, who was there, he was sort of in charge of them in the ’30s, he was the straight man, and they were his stooges, but when they quit to go to Columbia Pictures and do their own films, Mousie Garner was part of the three guys that Ted Healy hired to be the new Stooges. And then he sort of like existed in show business for half a century, and he wound up in Spike Jones’ band briefly in the ’50s, although he couldn’t play any instruments, but he looked funny, and that was important. And he just recently died, but there he is.

ANDELMAN: I love the illustration that opens the book of William “Bud” Abbott, of course, partner of Lou Costello for so long. One of my great regrets is that late in his life, when I was growing up in New Jersey, he played a gig at a cheesy hotel in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and I couldn’t find a way to get there. I think I may have been like 16 or 17, and you had to be 18 to get in or some such thing, and I have always remembered that. Every time I drive by that little dumpy hotel, I think, damn, if only I had gotten to see him there, and I think like a year or two later, he was gone.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, I feel your pain.


FRIEDMAN: I have the same regret about not visiting Larry Fine when he was at the Old Actors’ Home in Hollywood at the end of his life in the ’70s after he had suffered some strokes, but he loved getting visitors. And kids would fly out from all over the country to visit him, and I never did that. I regretted that, and he died in the mid-70s, but I did have the opportunity to visit Groucho Marx at his house.


FRIEDMAN: My father was friendly with the woman who lived with Groucho Marx at the time, and she invited us in 1975, when Groucho was 85, to visit his house and have dinner there, and there were other guests there, so we spent the afternoon with Groucho, and that was an incredible experience. The thing that I am still kicking myself about is that we were invited back the next week. Groucho just loved company, loved younger people. When he met us when we were out at the house, we came to his door, and Groucho approached us, and he looked at my father and said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you and your three lovely daughters,” because our hair was a little long at the time. Everything with him was a one-liner. He was as sharp as ever. He was all slowed down, but he still sang, he still wanted to be involved in everything. Everybody that came in he came and greeted them. It was amazing, but everything was a one-liner, and it was incredible how it came out of him. We knew Groucho lived in Great Neck, Long Island, where we lived when we were kids in the ’60s, so we knew Groucho had a house there before he moved to Hollywood, and in Great Neck, there was a movie theater that was still there when we were kids called the Playhouse, and we had always heard it had been an old Vaudeville theater, so my brother said, “Groucho, do you remember the Playhouse Theater in Great Neck? They had an old organ in the back?” And Groucho, without missing a beat, said, ”I got an old organ myself.” It was incredible. Nonstop, and then he got up and sang for like an hour with, I think, Harpo’s son playing piano, so it was an incredible experience.

ANDELMAN: So it’s not just a visit, it’s entertainment.

FRIEDMAN: Of course. Of course. I mean, just sitting there with him. I got to sit there while he ate his creamed chicken at the table, and it was just like just that was enough for me. My regret is that we were invited back the next week, because Groucho was going to be reunited with Mae West. They hadn’t seen each other for 35 for some reason. I guess we felt, “Ah, we had enough Groucho.” I still regret that. I also regret that we didn’t take any photographs, either, but….

ANDELMAN: I wanted to ask you about that. I wanted to ask you, you have, for lack of a better term, the doubletruck in the book of Groucho and Harpo and Chico, did you meet his brothers, as well?

FRIEDMAN: No. Chico died around, he died in the early ’60s, around 1960, and Harpo died in 1964, so that…

ANDELMAN: Okay, I didn’t realize it had been that long.

FRIEDMAN: Zeppo lived into the ‘70s and so did Gummo, who everybody said was the funniest Marx Brother, but he quit even before they were on Broadway, but Gummo and Zeppo will be in the second book together on one page.

ANDELMAN: Where did you get the photo references for all of these old Jewish comedians? I mean, obviously, it’s easy to find photos of them in their youth and at the height of their popularity, but some of these you wouldn’t even recognize.

More Old Jewish Comedians, cartoonist, Drew Friedman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘More Old Jewish Comedians’ by Drew Friedman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

FRIEDMAN: A lot of the photos are photos I have been clipping over the years. It has always been a hobby of mine to just clip weird photos and photos of celebrities and not just like smiling shots of celebrities staring at the camera but just stranger kind of like shots of them or even like the sides of their faces. So I had a file. I also have a lot of books with photographs of some of these guys, and their biographies usually have… And then people were sending me stuff, and then, of course, these days, you can Google certain people, although if you try to Google Menasha Skulnik or Jackie Miles, you’ll basically get nothing or even Georgie Jessel, who was incredibly famous in his day, but there’s hardly anything there on him, so…

ANDELMAN: The Jack Benny is interesting. I gather he’s wearing bifocals, if I’m looking at this correctly, but also, he’s not in one of his usual poses. He’s not holding his hand out like he’s just hit his punch line or something. It strikes me that your illustration of him is quite different from the illustration of pretty much anyone else. It’s very relaxed, he’s not smiling, looking kind of off. It’s really interesting looking.

FRIEDMAN: One of the reasons I don’t include text is because I want each illustration to sort of tell a little story, and some more than others, and the Jack Benny one in particular is Jack at the height of his career, at the end of his career, but he had an incredible career, he was incredibly famous, successful, was really funny, was successful on Broadway, in movies, television, radio. So I wanted to show him relaxed in his Beverly Hills home. One of the great lines that I read recently was from a Woody Allen interview in Vanity Fair where he talked about visiting Jack Benny, and his comment was, “Jack Benny was a real Beverly Hills Jew,” and I just liked how that sounded, so I wanted to just present him in his Beverly Hills home, just relaxed like he doesn’t have anything more to prove, he’s done it all, and he’s just looking at the reader like just with a contented smile. And the fact that it’s opposite the drawing of Mousie Garner in what might be an old-age home, but he’s got an electric blanket wrapped around him, and he’s sort of looking at the reader saying, “What happened?” Like, “I’ve been in show business my entire career, and this is where I wound up?” It’s sort of the opposite of… Jack Benny just had done it all, and there he is….

ANDELMAN: Right. He almost looks like a woman, actually.

FRIEDMAN: Well, he wore his hair like that. He usually combed it, Mousy Gardner, he usually combed it back; when he did his comedy act, he had crazy hair and greasy, and he would let it fall, sort of like Shemp.

ANDELMAN: Will the second book have any old Jewish women comediennes?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, yes. I had considered them for the first book. There are not that many. There were a lot of funny ones but not that many. I couldn’t really come up with too many, but the second one will have some, including Molly Picon, who was also incredibly popular in her day, mostly in the Yiddish theater, but then she branched out to television and Broadway shows. Phyllis Diller was Jewish, and she’ll be in there, and then there are some other ones that are a little more obscure. And then there are other ones that I am still considering, like Joan Rivers, possibly, and Elaine May. But then some of them died kind of young, like Fanny Brice died when she was in her early 60s, and Totie Fields didn’t live that long, so they didn’t quite… Lenny Bruce won’t be in any of these books because he died at age 40.

ANDELMAN: Drew, you are best known for your caricatures, this type of work. What’s the process for doing one in terms of what medium do you work in, is there a signature in your mind in terms of the background or the expressions, is there something beyond what we just see when you do one of these?

FRIEDMAN: That’s the beagles in the background.

ANDELMAN: We’ll get to the beagles, I promise.

FRIEDMAN: The process, it depends whether it’s an assignment, of course, if I have to draw somebody specific, but my technique used to be what people called “stipple” style. I haven’t done that in many years, but now, I use water color. I work only with a brush, but I do a pretty tight pencil sketch before I paint, so the effect that you are seeing in the Jewish Comedians book and in my work, it begins with a tight, tight pencil, and then I paint right on top of that, and I don’t erase the pencil, so hopefully that will just give it a richer look, which is what people seem to pick up on, the intense detail. But if it’s an assignment, if it’s a magazine assignment, if they tell me exactly what they want, that’s the easiest way, but if it’s up to me, then I have to kick around some ideas and submit some sketches. But with this book, the Jewish Comedians book, I first came up with a list of people I wanted to do, and then as I got to each person, I would figure out how I wanted to present them. Some of them are just up close like faces in your face. I wanted the effect to be like these guys are just staring right back at you in your face, and then I pulled back on some of the other ones and wanted to show them in an environment, like the Jack Benny one, Mousie Garner, a few other ones.

ANDELMAN: You did the cover for the first tabloid edition of the New York Observer a couple weeks ago, which I thought was great, and it was interesting, because here they are going to this smaller tabloid format from the full page, and there is even more focus on the art. Anything particular about what you were asked to do with Hillary Clinton?

Too Soon?, cartoonist, Drew Friedman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘Too Soon?’ by Drew Friedman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

FRIEDMAN: I did the first one, then the editor had just asked me to make sure there was a head that they could pull off and use on the front cover. Right now, the full illustration of Hillary Clinton posed as Michael Corleone, ran with an article about how Hillary’s people are very like secretive about things, so that was the context to show her…. I didn’t even read the article. The editor, when I work with them, the editor will give me a couple of lines of what the gist of the piece is about, so that’s what I went on. But the only specific thing he asked for was that there would be a face that they could pull, since they have this new format where the cover is, the image is a portion of the artwork, and then you turn the page, and it would be full illustrations on the second, third page.

ANDELMAN: Right. They have that outer jacket to the paper now.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, they completely revamped the thing. Everybody is shrinking down in size. The Wall Street Journal just did, and everybody is sort of reshuffling things. The New Republic is debuting next week with an entirely new format.

ANDELMAN: Do your personal politics affect what you draw and how?

FRIEDMAN: Occasionally. If I’m asked to do a Bush, it might be a little edgy, or a Cheney, but I try not to let it. If it’s a drawing of Hillary Clinton, I want the stuff to be honest. I don’t want to hold back, or I don’t want to be more vicious if I don’t like somebody, I like to stay kind of neutral when I’m working on the political stuff. Occasionally, I will draw somebody I can’t stand, but the art director and the editor don’t have to know that.

ANDELMAN: I was going to ask you if you’ve refused assignments that didn’t align with your own beliefs.

FRIEDMAN: I don’t think I would do any cigarette ads, and I wouldn’t do anything that would harm animals or children. I wouldn’t do any PETA ads, but I also wouldn’t do any ads for…. There is a small list. Like anybody, I’m a slight hypocrite. I’m a vegetarian, but I also do work for Field and Stream magazine occasionally. Maybe that’s the extent of it. Don’t tell my mother that I have done work for Field and Stream.

ANDELMAN: Really? What would your mother say about that?

FRIEDMAN: Well, she’s also a militant vegetarian. I’m not a militant vegetarian. I wear leather, I just don’t eat meat, mainly because I love animals, but it doesn’t agree with my stomach. But I do wear leather, and I wear leather shoes, but I also do work for Field and Stream occasionally.
ANDELMAN: Have you ever given any thought to who you have drawn the most on assignment over the years?

FRIEDMAN: No. I don’t think so, but I’m guessing it could be Woody Allen, quite possibly, or Howard Stern. I love drawing comedians, young and old, and Jewish comedians and old ones, so that’s why I did that book. The editor of the book, Monte Beauchamp, came to me and said, would you like to do one of these books? Because it’s part of a series that he’s doing, Blab Storybooks, and he’s got other artists who have done them, Suko and Gary Basemen and a few other people. So I said, yeah, and that would be fun just to work on it between assignments, like over a year, so what would I most like to draw just to relax and unwind, and old Jewish comedians was it. So I didn’t go to him and say, “I’d like to do a book about old Jewish comedians,” he came to me and said, “Do you want to do a book?” And then I had to think about what I would most like to draw over a period of…. Of course, the problem now is what am I going to do… I am doing the sequel More Old Jewish Comedians, so people have said, next, are you going to do young Jewish comedians or middle-aged comedians or old Jewish chiropractors, stuff like that, so I’ve been making it clear that I am out of the old Jew business. I am also out of the Jewish comedian business altogether.

ANDELMAN: I don’t know. You know, you mentioned Howard Stern. I would think he’s going to want to get in on this.

FRIEDMAN: Well, he gave me some nice quotes for the book, but in my next book that’s coming out in the spring, The Fun Never Stops, which is an anthology of comic strips and illustrations, Howard appears a few times in that book.

ANDELMAN: I’m glad you brought that up. I was going to ask you about that. As you compiled your work in that book, and that’s June 2007, I guess, that it comes out, did you discover any common themes about your work from that period that maybe hadn’t occurred to you until you had to organize it?

FRIEDMAN: No, I don’t think so. There’s all different kinds of things in the book. The next book is an anthology of work mainly from the early ’90s. My last book of comics was called Warts and All, co-written by my brother Josh. That came out in 1990, so this is work that came out after that, and also, it’s the last of the stipple work that I did which I phased out around 1995, because I got tired of it mainly. I just got sick and tired of it. I didn’t need it anymore, and I was slowly phasing it out, and sure enough, when I did my last drawing with some stipple in it and then the next drawing with no stipple, nobody mentioned a thing, so I was just quietly phasing it out. But that’s mainly the theme, it’s the last of the work drawn in that style, but there’s a lot of show business stuff, a lot of stuff from Entertainment Weekly and also a lot of the beginning of the political stuff that I started doing, like, I don’t know if people are going to remember that there was another guy named Bush as President, but he pops up in this book and Clinton… But it’s mostly illustration work and comics from the early to mid-90s and then all the other comics I’ve done up until recently. There was a piece I did called “Guilty: Pleasures of Literary Greats” that also ran in the first issue of the new New York Observer a few weeks ago, and that comic, which I just completed two months ago, will be in the new book, as well.

ANDELMAN: Okay. Now, Drew, you work for two of our most famous and for that matter infamous humor institutions, the National Lampoon and Spy.

FRIEDMAN: You’re not including Mad?

ANDELMAN: I forgot about Mad, I’m sorry. And Mad, let’s throw them in. Do you have any good stories about assignments from any of those three?

FRIEDMAN: National Lampoon, nothing really from National Lampoon. That was basically we do comics and get them…. It was hard to get in there at first, and that’s why I wound up doing stuff for Heavy Metal, which was downstairs from them. They were owned by the same people. But first, in the early ’80s, they weren’t, National Lampoon, they weren’t being very receptive, so I just went to visit Julie Simmons, and I could hear her howling in her office looking at my stuff… Then she gave me a regular gig for that, but working for Spy was a lot of fun because they became so popular, and it was just great to be in there while they were going through that period where they would be the magazine, and everybody was talking about it, and it was just a fun thing to be involved in, but then they went downhill just as quickly, so that wasn’t so much fun.

The Fun Never Stops!, cartoonist, Drew Friedman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘The Fun Never Stops!’ by Drew Friedman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

ANDELMAN: That would be the early part, that would be from the book, Spy: The Funny Years, right?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, from like ’86 to ’91, ’92, and then after that, I think I worked there until around ’93, and that was it.

ANDELMAN: Now, the last time we spoke, you had mentioned to me about a book that you were illustrating for Matty Simmons. Is that still on?

FRIEDMAN: It’s still up in the air. I think that Matty’s daughter, Julie, is still trying to sell it to a publisher, so that’s where we left off on that.

ANDELMAN: Okay. And we will wrap up in a minute or two. I’m curious. You come from a creative family, of course, so you’re brother Josh is a writer and musician. Your dad, Bruce J. Friedman, best-selling author, script writer. And you know this, but I am going to share this for people who are listening, he wrote The Dick and The Lonely Guy for print and Stir Crazy, Splash, and Heartbreak Kid for screen, I’m thinking that when the family gets together, that must be kind of a tough audience.

FRIEDMAN: Well, especially around my father because he sort of is in charge, I mean, as far as being the funny guy. It’s hard to get him to laugh if you are one of his sons, but he appreciates my work and my brother’s work, but yeah, he’s a tough audience. It’s hard to get him to howl with laughter. It’s rare.

ANDELMAN: But is he funny?



FRIEDMAN: Always funny. Like anything just comes out funny, and usually, he’s on, too.

ANDELMAN: It’s funny. We just introduced Splash to my daughter this very week, just by coincidence. Did your dad’s career, did it influence your own choices?

FRIEDMAN: I guess it did. I wasn’t really aware of it. It must have, because in the early ’60s, he worked at a company called Magazine Management, which was the company that owned Marvel Comics, so the next office to him was Stan Lee, and those were the lean years for Marvel when Stan Lee was down to one secretary and then a couple of artists that would do the work, but the guy who ran the company, Martin Goodman, was Stan Lee’s cousin, I think, cousin, uncle….

ANDELMAN: Uncle, I think.

FRIEDMAN: Uncle, right, but I think he really wanted to save the comics out. And of course, that was just right before they exploded and became the biggest thing, but my father would bring home piles of comic books, piles of Marvel comic books to us like every week, but we took it for granted. We just assumed, okay, everybody’s father brought home piles of comics from their office every day or every week. It was sort of like he was bringing us this stuff as little kids, so we just couldn’t avoid it and Mad magazine and Famous Monsters magazine and all that stuff, but especially the comic books, so it was sort of being shoved in my face whether I wanted it or not. And I wasn’t even a big Marvel fan. I liked DC comics, also, and I liked humor stuff especially, especially Mad. But everything…. Little by little, I just started loving all of it, even Archie comics. As I got older, I got a little more particular about what I preferred, and I gravitated more toward the underground comics and National Lampoon, things like that.

ANDELMAN: Before we started today, we were talking about how you think you know people because of their work, and then you mentioned something that you and your wife are involved in, and I want to give you a minute to talk about that. You guys raise beagles.

FRIEDMAN: Yep. We have three champion beagles. We’ve had more in the past, and now we have three. You know, it’s something people usually don’t know.

ANDELMAN: How important are the beagles to you in terms of keeping a rounded life? I mean, a lot of artists or even writers you hear about, they are so focused on what they do that you never hear about them having any other interests because they are so intense on their career.

Drew: Yes. Well, we don’t have kids, but the beagles, we center on them every day, so to me, the beagles are more important than just about anything, aside from my wife. The work comes third for me. My wife and the beagles come first, first and second. So I think that’s good. I don’t want to be so self-obsessed with what I’m doing. I like to have a policy of quitting every day at 5:00, no matter what. I never do all night deadlines any more. I used to when I was younger, but I can’t do that any more. But yes, it keeps me more grounded in reality and what’s more important. I also want to mention that my wife just reminded me that we had the number one beagle three years ago. We owned the number one beagle. He didn’t live here, but we owned him, so that was exciting.

ANDELMAN: Last question: will your number two and number three interests ever cross? Will we see a beagle book at some point?

FRIEDMAN: As far as beagles, I have drawn, if you look carefully, you’ll see beagles pop up in my work over the years. My “Nina.”

ANDELMAN: I was just going to ask you if that was your Al Hirshfield.

FRIEDMAN: That’s my “Nina.” Occasionally, you’ll see a beagle pop up. I have drawn beagles probably about ten times, including on the cover of the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, one of our beagles popped up.

ANDELMAN: Now I am sure we will set off a mad search for those beagles.

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