Holiday Gift Guide

New York Times
For the Comedy-Loving New Yorker
By SAM ROBERTS NOV. 23, 2017

Bette Midler with first manager Bud Friedman at a party in honor of his Improv Clubs


Budd Friedman, with the author and journalist Tripp Whetsell, joins Billy Crystal, Robert Klein, Larry David, Richard Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Bette Midler and others to recount the history of the Improv, Mr. Friedman’s pioneering laugh factory on West 44th Street.

The space, which opened in 1963, was originally intended to be an after-hours coffeehouse for Broadway performers, but soon became an incubator for budding comedians. When reading “The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Stand-Up” (BenBella Books), you learn that Barry Manilow once played the piano there and Danny Aiello was the bouncer.

Larry David remembered his first visit in 1974: “We went in and as soon as we started watching the snow, I turned to my friend and said, ‘This doesn’t seem too hard.’”



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