Budd Friedman with Emerson College

Improv Comedy Club Founder


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Budd Friedman talks about opening his comedy club, the Improv in New York City, and discovering Andy Kaufman. He recalls several luminaires who worked at his club, including Bette Midler, Milton Berle, Eddie Murphy, Steven Wright, and Chris Rock. He discusses what it takes for young comedians to make it as a stand-up comedian, and the challenge of finding wider audiences. Friedman describes what he feels is the then-current state of comedy, and speculates where it might go in the then-future. He concludes with one of his favorite jokes. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 25, 2006 at the Improv on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA.

“To make it as a comedian, you have to practice, practice, practice. Make sure you're ready, because if you get on here and fail, it's going to take a long time to get you back on the stage. Know what you're doing and be ready.”

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Highlights
Budd Friedman on comedians like Chris Rock crafting an act
Budd Friedman on giving Andy Kaufman his start
Budd Friedman on hiring Chris Albrecht, later of HBO, to run his club in New York City
Budd Friedman on Milton Berle performing at the Improv
Budd Friedman on the healing power of laughter
Budd Friedman on how comedy has evolved over the years, exemplified by Richard Pryor versus Eddie Murphy
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On opening the Improv in New York City; on giving Andy Kaufman his start; on hiring Chris Albrecht, later of HBO, to run his club in New York City
On the beginnings of stand-up comedy with people like Lenny Bruce; on Milton Berle performing at the Improv; on how comedy has evolved over the years, exemplified by Richard Pryor versus Eddie Murphy
On dealing with the business aspect of show business; on finding managers for comedians; on how comedians have changed since he started
On comedians honing their craft, and on how various comics got their start; on comedians like Chris Rock crafting an act; on the importance of making contacts when a comedian is trying to make it, and on Steven Wright
On the healing power of laughter; on the then-future of comedy; on what makes him laugh
On trying to bring certain comedians to a wider audience; on answering the question, "Was it worth it?"
On what successful comedians have in common; on favorite jokes
Topics

Television Industry

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Budd Friedman on dealing with the business aspect of show business
Professions

Comedian

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Budd Friedman on advice to an aspiring comedian

Performers

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Budd Friedman on advice to an aspiring comedian
People

Chris Albrecht

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Budd Friedman on hiring Chris Albrecht, later of HBO, to run his club in New York City

Milton Berle

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Budd Friedman on Milton Berle performing at the Improv

Lenny Bruce

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Budd Friedman on the beginnings of stand-up comedy with people like Lenny Bruce

Andy Kaufman

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Budd Friedman on giving Andy Kaufman his start
Budd Friedman on George Shapiro managing Andy Kauffman

Bette Midler

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Budd Friedman on Bette Midler

Eddie Murphy

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Budd Friedman on how comedy has evolved over the years, exemplified by Richard Pryor versus Eddie Murphy

Richard Pryor

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Budd Friedman on how comedy has evolved over the years, exemplified by Richard Pryor versus Eddie Murphy

Chris Rock

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Budd Friedman on comedians like Chris Rock crafting an act

George Shapiro

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Budd Friedman on George Shapiro managing Andy Kauffman

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