Devin Friedman is just a guy trying to make some black friends on Craigslist. Chris Rock is just an extremely funny comedian, probably past his prime, who’s trying to become relevant again. Together with Oprah, these two men just might end up ruling the world of white-on-black Platonic friendships.
In November 2008, a very white Devin Friedman wrote a GQ article about trying to make friends with black people. Did he succeed? We don’t know, we can’t read. But we also can’t wait for the movie. Variety has reported that Harpo Films and Lionsgate have teamed up to acquire the film rights. The film, will be produced by Oprah Winfrey herself, along with Kate Forte and Carla Cardini — both also of Harpo Films. It will be a starring role for Chris Rock, who we assume will play a black person. Lionsgate holds the distribution rights.
If the movie is anything like the article, I’m surely excited about it. Also, any excuse to see Chris Rock in a non-neutered role is a delight. He’s been producing lately — in fact, he’s got a picture coming out this Friday called Good Hair — but I’m ready to see him rock in front of the camera again. Here’s a funny, short excerpt from Friendman’s article (we added some emphasis), which is definitely worth reading:
Why one would take out an ad on the Internet looking for a black friend is a legitimate question. Here’s my answer:
I had a cocktail party the other night. A natural moment to look around at the demographics of your life. And I thought: Jesus Christ, there are a lot of white people in this room. I’ve always thought of the whiteness of my adult life as a temporary condition. Like somehow all these white people have been foisted on me; pretty soon it’ll change; it’s probably my wife’s fault. But it’s time to acknowledge that I’ve become a character in a Wes Anderson movie. I wear white tennis sneakers from the ’70s. I listen to ambient music. I have dinner parties where I serve Spanish rosé and this softer version of mozzarella that has a lovely, almost liquid center that you can only get at the Italian import store. I do yoga, and I get excited when it’s ramp season. Sometimes I’d really like to punch myself in the face. (You might argue that I’m not describing “whiteness” but “arugula-ness”; but when black people have this lifestyle, they get accused of being white.) I used to make jokes about “look at us here at the weekend house in the Catskills in our blazers and sneakers eating the braised pork shoulder from the Jamie Oliver cookbook with the David Gray on in the background—aren’t we like that Amstel Light commercial?” You know that Amstel Light commercial about the white people’s country weekend—it’s white-people pornography. But I stopped making the joke, because it stopped being a joke. Because I stopped noticing it.
About the cocktail party I mentioned: I invited my friends Twan and Rem, both black. Rem couldn’t come, so there was just Twan. I mean, the math here is pretty stark: If something happened to Twan or Rem—if one of them moved, or one of them stopped liking me—the number of black friends I have would drop by 50 percent. It would be like when Colin Powell resigned from the Bush administration and there was just…Condoleezza Rice. There’s a bright line there. The Condoleezza line. Admitting that you count your black friends is a violation of the Unracist White Person Magna Carta, but really, I couldn’t handle walking around knowing that I have the same number of black friends as George W. Bush.