Rick Newman, the founder of the legendary comedy club in New York City that helped launch the careers of many comedians, passed away on Monday at the age of 81.
Newman opened the comedy club in 1963 in the heart of New York City’s theater district, and it quickly became a popular spot for up-and-coming comedians. Over the years, the club hosted some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, and Jay Leno, who all got their start on its stage.
In addition to being a successful club owner, Newman was also known for his talent as a comedian. He performed regularly at the club and on television, and his unique blend of comedy and social commentary earned him a devoted following.
Newman’s impact on the world of comedy cannot be overstated. His club provided a platform for comedians to hone their craft, and many credit him with launching their careers. In a statement, Seinfeld said, “Rick Newman was the gatekeeper to the world of comedy. If you wanted to make it in New York, you had to go through Rick.”
Newman’s club was also known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and it was one of the few comedy clubs in the city that welcomed comedians of all backgrounds and styles.
Despite facing financial difficulties in the 1990s, Newman continued to run the club until it closed its doors in 2002. But his legacy lives on in the countless comedians he helped launch and the audiences he entertained over the years.
In a statement, Newman’s family said, “Rick Newman was a beloved father, husband, and friend, but he was also a true pioneer in the world of comedy. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on through the countless comedians he helped launch and the laughter he brought to so many people’s lives.”