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The godfather of comedy looks back on a lifetime of laughs

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In this Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, photo shows Budd Friedman, godfather of comedy at his home in Westwood district of Los Angeles. Friedman opened a dingy brick-walled nightclub called The Improvisation on the edge of New York's theatre district in 1963 there were no other comedy clubs to speak of in the country. Comics were generally relegated to playing small coffeehouses, telling mother-in-law jokes at summer resorts or keeping audiences entertained between strip shows. There are comedy clubs across the country now, and in Friedman's just-published memoir, "The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Stand-Up," generations of comedians from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon give the author the lion's share of the credit. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The godfather of comedy has a few secrets to share: First, he never intended to become the godfather of comedy, never had any idea how to accomplish the feat and, a half-century later, isn’t quite sure how he did it.