Download The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club that Revolutionized Stand-Up Audiobook

The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club that Revolutionized Stand-Up Audiobook, by Budd Friedman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Budd Friedman, Tripp Whetsell Narrator: Johnny Heller Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2017 ISBN: 9781541484658
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In 1963, thirty-year-old Friedman—who had recently quit his job as a Boston advertising executive and returned to his hometown of New York to become a theatrical producer—opened a coffee house for Broadway performers called the Improvisation. His goal? Simply to make a living, and if all went according to plan, to also make enough professional contacts to be able to mount his first Broadway show within a year's time.

Later shortened to the Improv, its first West 44th Street location in a seedy section of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen had previously been a Vietnamese restaurant. Initially attracting the likes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Albert Finney, Christopher Plummer, and Jason Robards, as well as a couple of then-unknowns named Dustin Hoffman and Bette Midler, Friedman's new venture was an instant hit.

But while it drew near capacity crowds almost from day one, it wasn't until comedians began dropping by to try out new material that the Improv truly hit its stride, not only becoming the first venue ever to present live stand-up in a continuous format, but in the process reinventing the art form and creating the template for all other comedy clubs that followed. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Improv was a cauldron of talent. Whetsell writes about it wonderfully and with respect for its importance to comedy. Robert Klein

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About the Author

Budd Friedman, the man who could well be called the father of the modern comedy club, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, moved to New York, fought in Korea and returned to Manhattan, where he obtained a degree in advertising and marketing from New York University. Less than enthralled with advertising, he hit upon the idea that was to become the Improvisation. The rest, as they say, is history. Ever the entrepreneur, Budd produced a political/satirical theatrical revue in New York entitled What’s a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This? He became Jay Leno and Bette Midler’s first manager, and in 1975 he opened a West Coast branch of the Improv on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

About the Narrator

Gore Vidal (1925–2012), winner of the National Book Award, wrote numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, short stories, plays, screenplays, and essay. Many of his works were New York Times bestsellers list.