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Budd Friedman and Tripp Whetsell collection

 Collection — shelf: Digital
Identifier: ACC-MSS 020

Scope and Contents

The Budd Friedman and Tripp Whetsell collection, ca. 2002-2018, consists of 89 audio interview recordings with prominent comedians, producers, comedic writers, actors, singers, directors, talent managers, and journalists. In addition, there is one video documentary about the Improv comedy club, formerly called the Improvisation. The collection is organized into two series.

Series 1: Improv Interviews, ca. 2015-2016 is comprised of 74 audio interviews conducted for the book "The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club that Revolutionized Stand-Up" written by Budd Friedman, the founder of the Improv, and Tripp Whetsell. The book documents the history of the comedy club from its founding by Budd Friedman in 1963 to its sale to Levity Entertainment Group in 2012, and illustrates Budd Friedman's and the Improv's impact on the comedy industry. The interviews were conducted with former performers, both comedians and singers, former Improv staff members, and members of Budd Friedman's family. Former performers and staff members include prominent comedians and singers from the entertainment industry, including Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, and Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Danny Aiello, Shelley Ackerman, and Judd Apatow. Also, included is one video recording of a short documentary about the Improv, and includes an interview with Budd Friedman and clips of past performers.

Series 2: Article interviews, ca. 2002-2018 is comprised of 15 audio interviews conducted by Tripp Whetsell for articles published in local and national publications including TV Guide, New York Magazine, New York Post, Variety, and the Friars Club newsletter, Epistle. He interviewed comedians, actors, writers, producers, singers, talent managers, and journalists including Sid Bernstein, Sid Caesar, Norman Lear, and Carl Reiner.


  • ca. 2002 - 2018


Language of Materials

Records in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection may only be accessed onsite at the Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s) ( For questions about rights statements, or access to the original document please contact the Emerson College Archives and Special Collections at


89 audio recordings and 1 video recording


The collection is divided into two series, and arranged alphabetically within each series by the interviewee's last name.

Physical Location

Drive > Archives > Special Collections > ACC-MSS020 Tripp Whetsell

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Tripp Whetsell donated the digital recordings in several installments. 13 of the recordings were on CD/DVD which were temporarily loaned to the Archive so the recordings could be copied.

Budd Friedman and Tripp Whetsell collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Emerson College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Walker Building, Room 223
120 Boylston Street
Boston Massachusetts 02116 United States
(617) 824-8301