It’s no joke: Levity Entertainment Group has acquired the Improv, the comedy club brand launched more than a half-century ago by Budd Friedman. The company is launching an expansion of premium entertainment venues globally.
The Improv has grown to more than 20 clubs nationwide and maintains a library of classic comedy assets, including An Evening at the Improv, which aired on A&E from 1982-96.
“When I started the Improv on 44th Street with little more than a brick wall, I couldn’t imagine it would endure for over a half-century,” said Friedman, who has owned the Improv with Mark Lonow. “So much of the history of comedy played out on our stages.” Added Lonow: “I’m so proud of what we accomplished, and I have no doubt the Improv will continue to be the premier showcase for the best comedy talent.”
Levity, a joint venture between Azoff MSG Entertainment and its founders, plans to keep the legacy of the Improv brand intact, but its venues will offer upgraded seating, premium food and beverage options and state-of-the-art technology.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“There are few comedy brands with such an authentic and rich history,” Levity founder Robert Hartmann said. “We are excited to build on its legacy and evolve the live experience for new audiences.”