Since the 1980s, comics artist Drew Friedman has been making a name for himself with his unmistakable, hyper-detailed style and ghoulish sense of humor. His work has depicted the underbelly of show business in particular and the seamy side of American life in general. His work is populated by sweaty, aging comedians, misshapen losers, and grotesque B-movie stars, including the hulking, bald Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson of Plan 9 From Outer Space fame. Now, filmmaker Kevin Dougherty wants to make a full-length documentary about the scarily talented Friedman, affectionately entitled Vermeer Of The Borscht Belt, and is turning to Kickstarter for funding.
The proposed feature film will cover Friedman’s entire life and career, tracing his development from underground comic books to the covers of major magazines. Friedman’s own life is interesting, too. His father is the acclaimed writer Bruce Jay Friedman, whose film credits include Splash and Doctor Detroit. Dougherty is seeking $50,000 to complete Vermeer Of The Borscht Belt, which will include interviews with Friedman’s friends and colleagues as well as a tour of Friedman’s so-called “Jewseum,” a private storehouse of items related to famous Jewish comedians like Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, and Jerry Lewis. Friedman’s collection may be the largest of its kind. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $24,000, with just under two weeks left to go. If successfully funded, the film is due by August 2017.