Budd Friedman, a Broadway producer and founder of the iconic Improv Comedy Club franchise, has passed away. He was 90 years old.
Friedman died on Saturday, according to an Instagram tribute shared by Hollywood improv, the Los Angeles venue of the Improv Comedy Club, on Saturday. A cause of death was not given.
“The comedy world lost a giant today,” the venue wrote, calling Friedman a “pioneer” and “godfather of stand-up comedy.”
“He changed the comedy world by creating the first comedy club for the masses to come together in laughter,” the tribute continued. “Budd offered opportunity and support to all who had the privilege of performing in front of this iconic brick wall. We are committed to his vision.”
“His impact is immeasurable and his legacy will be felt in comedy for generations to come.”
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 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, above all, sing.”
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 comedy club,” Rob Schneider tweeted. “He made it possible for me (and) so many others to earn a living for our families doing what we love! It was through Budd’s support and kindness that I had the chance to live my dreams (and) be discovered.”
“I cannot thank this man enough for what he has given us all,tweeted Adam Sandler alongside a photo of himself with Friedman. “A homemade comedy. All the time on stage. All advice. All encouragement. A place where comedians can meet and talk only about comedy.”
“St. Peter’s like ‘Out of the aisles, out of the aisles, Budd is coming'” jimmy fallon wrote on Twitter. “Rest in peace, Budd Friedman.”
Comedian Richard Lewis called Friedman “true kingmaker for many young actorsin a Twitter tribute on 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 saved my life. I loved him and his family. RIP mate.
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