Budd Friedman, founder of Improv Comedy Club, dies at 90: 'He changed the world of comedy' – USA TODAY

Budd Friedman, a Broadway producer and founder of the iconic Improv Comedy Club franchise, has died. He was 90.
Friedman died Saturday, Cesar Blancarte of Levity Live confirmed to USA TODAY Monday. News of Friedman’s death was first shared in an Instagram tribute by The Hollywood Improv, the Improv Comedy Club’s Los Angeles venue, on Saturday. A cause of death was not given.
“The comedy world lost a giant today,” the venue wrote, calling Friedman a “pioneer” and the “Godfather of stand-up comedy.” 
“He changed the world of comedy by creating the first comedy club for the masses to come together in laughter,” the tribute continued. “Budd gave opportunity and support to everyone who had the privilege of performing in front of that iconic brick wall. We stand committed to his vision.
“His impact is immeasurable, and his legacy will be felt in comedy for generations to come.”
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USA TODAY has reached out to The Hollywood Improv and The Broadway League for additional comment.
Friedman founded the Improv Comedy Club in New York City in 1963, according to the franchise’s official website, with the goal of creating an “intimate” haven for Broadway performers to unwind: “eat, drink coffee and, most importantly, sing.”
Over the years, the Improv became a mecca for comedic talent, featuring appearances by famed jokesters Jay Leno, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Freddie Prinze and Jerry Seinfeld.
A number of comedians took to social media to mourn Friedman’s passing and pay tribute to his impact on the comedy landscape.
“Budd literally invented the modern stand up comedy club,” Rob Schneider tweeted. “He made it possible for me (and) so many others to make a living for our families doing what we love! It was because of Budd’s support & kindness that I had chance to live my dreams (and) get discovered.”
“Can’t thank this man enough for what he gave to all of us,” Adam Sandler tweeted alongside a photo of him with Friedman. “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.”
“St. Peter’s like ‘Out of the aisles, out of the aisles, Budd’s coming through,’ ” Jimmy Fallon wrote on Twitter. “Rest in peace, Budd Friedman.”
“So sad to learn of the passing of the legendary Budd Friedman, the owner of The Improv, who discovered everyone you love,” Judd Apatow tweeted. “A great man who we all loved. He made the world much happier!”
Stand-up comedian Richard Lewis called Friedman a “veritable kingmaker for many young comedians” in a Twitter tribute Sunday.
“In 1971, my father, a hero to me died young. I was lost and found by this man,” Lewis wrote of Friedman. “In many ways he was a lifesaver. I loved him and his family. RIP pal.”
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