Friedlander was hosting a party at Sarandon's Manhattan club SPiN to mark the release of his literary satire How To Beat Up Anybody, and he convinced comedian pal Ken Burmeister to play dead on the floor covered in fake blood for a promotional gag.
But a concerned guest didn't realise it was all a hoax, and called 911.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters rushed to the scene, only to discover Bernstein was still breathing. But Friedlander has laughed off the elaborate stunt.
He tells the New York Post, "It was pretty obvious it was a joke, but I appreciate that they are looking out. Ken stayed in character, and I had to tell him they were real paramedics."