Andrew Jarecki’s anguished “Capturing the Friedmans” started as a doc about birthday clowns its central figure, David Friedman, first caught Jarecki’s eye as Silly Billy, a successful New York magician, clown, balloon twister and children’s entertainer with what turned out to be one hell of a personal history.
Friedman’s day job was eventually explored in Jarecki’s “Just a Clown,”, a slight, lighthearted doc short overwhelmed with burdens of context it’s offered as an extra on the “Capturing the Friedmans” DVD. Like Silly Billy’s website (“Silly Billy received loads of press including a feature story in the New Yorker, and being named New York’s best children’s magician by five different New York magazines”), it contains no more references to the darker reasons that might have drawn viewers or visitors than those we construe ourselves. You’d guess that, even so, Jarecki’s feature doc couldn’t have helped Friedman’s career, but the New York Post reports today that Friedman’s sleight-of-hand stylings will be coming to a celebreality show near you soon:
VH1 has hired Friedman as a magician on “Celebra Cadabra” – where “celebrities learn how to perform professional magic tricks in an attempt to become the ‘Best Celebrity Magician.’ ” David will attempt to teach C. Thomas Howell, Hal Sparks, Christopher Reid and Carnie Wilson new tricks.
I wish Mr. Friedman nothing but the best, but wow, that will be weird.
[Photo: David Friedman on the cover of Magic magazine, 1995]
+ MAGIC TURN FOR IDLED CLOWN (NY Post)