Comedic Icon and Founder of Improv Budd Friedman Passes Away at Age 90
On Saturday, it was reported by The Hollywood Improv that comedy great Budd Friedman, 90, has passed away. Friedman was the founder of the legendary comedy club The Improv.
The Posted “The comedy world lost a giant today, In 1963 he changed the world of comedy by creating the first comedy club for the masses to come together in laughter. In 1963 he changed the world. He went global. He was a pioneer. He was a gentleman. He was a luminary.”
At the Hollywood comedy club, Friedman just celebrated his 90th birthday.
Executive Director of the National Comedy Center Journey Gunderson observed, “Budd Friedman’s influence on live stand-up comedy is immeasurable.” From the time he opened the first Improv in New York nearly 60 years ago, ushering in the rise of stand-up comedy clubs across the country, to the present day at his much-loved club on Melrose, Budd has been the most influential cheerleader, coach, and master of ceremonies in the history of stand-up comedy. The comedy world as a whole will miss him greatly.
In 1963, the ex-advertising executive who opened The Improvisation in New York City provided a cosy space for Broadway actors to mingle after their performances. Broadway stars like Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli would come to the bar without a liquor licence just to sing with Peter Allen at the piano.
After comedian Dave Astor tried out some new stuff on Broadway, a slew of aspiring comics like Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David came to the stage in an effort to catch Friedman’s eye.
Since the New York club was responsible for the careers of many, Friedman decided to create a second one in Hollywood, California, on Melrose Avenue. He hired Jay Leno to help paint the ceiling.
In addition to “Star 80,” “Mambo Café,” “The Boneyard Collection,” “Funny People,” and “Louie,” Friedman appeared in a variety of comedies.