R.I.P. Freddie Roman: Last of the Borscht Belt Comics?

Just heard from friend and funny man Bob Greenberg that comedian Freddie Roman (Fred Kirschenbaum, 1937-2022).

Though he has many great stage and screen credits, Roman was best known for being a famous Friar, serving as the Dean of that organization for many years. His grandfather and uncle owned the Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills, where Freddie got his first performing experience as a teenager. In time, he headlined at major nightclubs like Caesar’s Palace and Harrah’s, performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and was a frequent guest on The Mike Douglas Show. Roman was stunt cast in the 1987 film Sweet Lorraine which starred Maureen Stapleton as a woman who owns a Catskills resort hotel. The highlight of his career was undoubtedly his Broadway show Catskills on Broadway, which ran from 1991 to 1993. He was also in the films Finding North (1998) and Bittersweet Place (2005), was on The Late Show with David Letterman and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and was a regular on the show Red Oaks (2014-2017) with Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, et al.

His son Alan Kirschenbaum was the head writer on the show Coach for several years, directed episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, and wrote for the Judd Hirsch show Dear John. He was also very much involved with horse racing. Alan died by his own hand in 2012.