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Budd M. Friedman (born as Gerson M. Friedman on June 6, 1932 in Los Angeles, California) is best known as the founder and original proprietor and MC of the Improvisation Comedy Club, which opened in 1963, on West 44th Street near the SE corner of 9th Avenue, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. He was instrumental in launching the comedy careers of Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Lewis, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze, Steve Landesberg, Jimmie Walker, and for a brief time, managed Bette Midler at the early stages of her career. It was with Friedman's help and guidance that Ms. Midler first appeared on The Tonight Show.

Budd Friedman
Gerson M. Friedman

(1932-06-06) June 6, 1932 (age 87)
OccupationActor, producer

He is also an actor and producer. Friedman also opened an Improv club at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.[1] as well as Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, California.


Korean WarEdit

Friedman served in the infantry in the US Army during the Korean War. He was wounded by an enemy grenade during his first day in action in the summer of 1953 while his unit was assaulting Pork Chop Hill. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB). The ceasefire went into effect while he was still recuperating in the hospital.[2]




Awards and RecognitionEdit

  • Norwich (Connecticut) Native Son Award (1980)[3]
  • Golden Goody Award (2013)[4]


  1. ^ A Conversation With Improv Founder Budd Friedman By Nancy Fay Archived July 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, March 23, 2007
  2. ^ Marc Maron, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Episode 339 - Budd Friedman, 20121129
  3. ^ "Budd Friedman - 1980 Norwich Native Son - Norwich Rotary Events". Norwich Rotary Events. 2018-10-24. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  4. ^ "Improv Founder Budd Friedman honored with Golden Goody Award – Goody Awards". Retrieved 2018-11-28.