Budd Friedman death: Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon and others pay tribute as Improv founder dies at 90

Budd Friedman death: Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon and others pay tribute as Improv founder dies at 90
Adam Sandler (L) and Jimy Fallon (R) paid tribute to comedian Budd Friedman (C) who died at the age of 90 (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Netflix, Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Budd Friedman, a Broadway producer and the creator of the Improv theater, died on Saturday, November 12, at the age of 90. He suffered heart failure in his Los Angeles home. Many celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to the producer. Adam Sandler expressed his gratitude to Friedman who gave him the opportunity to make a name for himself in the comedy world. Jimmy Fallon also paid tribute to the comedian in one of his social media posts.

Friedman was credited with launching the careers of numerous well-known comedians. He was Bette Midler's first manager and paved the way for the careers of Richard Pryor, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Larry David and Andy Kaufman. In the tweet, Adam Sandler said, “Budd Friedman. Can’t thank this man enough for what he gave to all of us. A comedy home. All the stage time. All the tips. All the encouragement. A place for comedians to hang out and talk about nothing but comedy.”


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Jimmy Fallon posted: “St. Peter’s like “Out of the aisles, out of the aisles, Budd’s coming through.” Rest in peace, Budd Friedman.”


Director Judd Apatow said he was "so sad to learn of the passing of the legendary Budd Friedman, the owner of The Improv, who discovered everyone you love. A great man who we all loved. He made the world much happier!" 


Comedian Whitney Cummings said, "RIP Budd Friedman, one of the great champions of comedy and comedians. Just a monumental, incredible man. I will never stop performing at the Improv Comedy Clubs."


Prior to opening a second site on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood in 1974, Friedman initially launched the Improv in Manhattan in 1963. The 22 improv theaters will continue Friedman's legacy, including the 1963-founded New York headquarters at West 44th Street and Ninth Avenue which was the epicenter of comics in the US. Additionally, artists performing in Friedman's New York comedy club included entertainers like Jay Leno, Robert Klein, Bette Midler, Richard Pryor, and Andy Kaufman.

Several such clubs were started around the US as a result of the popularity of that club. “That’s how I became a comedy genius, ladies and gentlemen, because of Dave Astor,” Friedman once said according to New York Post. “I didn’t have the idea of opening [a venue] for comics. I got tired of singers singing the same songs all the time, but I could listen to a comic do the same jokes over and over because there was always a nuance I could pick up on.”

Friedman leaves behind his wife, three children and five grandchildren. 

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