Budd Friedman, founder of the Improv comedy club, dies at 90
When Budd Friedman died on June 28, at the age of 90, he had written more than 200 songs and given more than 1,000 performances.
In 1956, Friedman created the popular comedy club The Improv in Los Angeles, where he performed for decades. It was in an upstairs room above his home.
Friedman had been married twice. One of his wives, Louise, was a talented singer and dancer who died in her home in 1965.
Friedman himself died in a Hollywood Hills hospital of pneumonia complications two weeks after his wife’s death.
Friedman’s son Matthew Friedman (left) and daughter-in-law Jennifer Friedman (right) read poetry at Friedman’s funeral on July 30, 2016.
It was on a visit to his home by Friedman’s two sons that the former comic became sick with pneumonia.
In an interview with the LA Times, Friedman said he became ill while visiting his mother, a former Broadway actress.
“I sat down at the piano and began to feel very sad and discouraged,” he recalled.
“You know, I’ve been through it all,” he told the Times.
“I’ve been in show business (since age 13), and for what? To make jokes and perform for applause and not think about the art or making real people happy?”
Friedman went on to explain how he was able to keep the Improv open with a limited staff and how it still attracts regular audiences.
“One week, I had four paying customers come in for a show in the morning and none the next day,” he said. “People just don’t know about us anymore.”
Friedman was also a songsmith.
“I wrote more than 100 songs, many of which were in the movies,” Friedman said. “I was also an arranger. I knew I could make a melody out of anything. For every song I wrote, I wanted to