Budd Friedman is the founder of the “Improvisation Comedy Club,” in 1963. He’s a well-known name in Manhattan and is regarded for the contributions that he has made to the world of comedy and entertainment. The 85 year old is himself an actor and producer who has had a great deal of influence in shaping the careers of some well known veteran actors. Most people are not aware of the work that he’s done behind the scenes, so to honor him, here are five things that you didn’t know about Budd Friedman.
He’s a native of Los Angeles, California
Budd is famous for starting the “Improvisation Comedy Club” in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan New York, but he’s not from the area. While he’s gotten around in his long and illustrious career, he was actually born in LA in June of 1932. He was born at the right time and in the right place with Hollywood a stones throw from his birthplace. He took full advantage of his surroundings and got involved in the business.
He’s an author
Most people know Friedman for the work that he’s done in Hollywood and with the Improv club, but he is also a talented writer. He authored the book “The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Stand-Up. The title of the book is an accurate representation of what Friedman has done. Truly, Friedman’s book is a well-regarded learning tool for those studying the art of professional stand-up comedy.
Friedman influenced the flavor of 1970s comedy
He has been instrumental in shaping the lives of several comedians who have gone of to become mega-stars in their careers. He opened another Imprpv club in Temecula, California and a third in Indo, CA. He helped to launch the careers of Robert Klein, Richard Lewis, Rodney Dangerfield, Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze, Jay Leno, Jimmie Walker and Steve Landesberg. These are comedians that brought fresh blood to the comedy scene and themselves, went on to make contributions that would forever change the face of comedy in a domino effect. Friedman also manages the great Bette Midler, arranging for her initial appearance on the Tonight Show. He served as her manager when she was just getting her career started.
Budd Friedman is a war hero
Budd served in the United States Army at the time of the Korean War conflict as a member of the infantry. He was performing his duties at Pork Chop Hill in 1953, where his unit engaged in active combat. Friedman sustained wounds from an enemy grenade on day one of the conflict, for which he received two distinctions These were the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart. He served his country bravely.
He was an influencer behind several popular comedy films
If you take a look at the credits for some of the more popular comedy films from the early 80s through the early 2000s, you’ll see that Friedman had a hand in their success. He appeared as Host as well as being the executive producer of “An Evening at the Improv” in 1982. He appeared as Emcee in “Star 80” in 1983 and as himself in the film “Man on the Moon” in 1999. He was executive producer and also an announcer in the movie “National Lampoon’s Funny Money” in 2003.