Remembering the Laughter

Audiences loved him — and fellow comedians loved him even more. Ron Carey, who died Jan.16, will be saluted by the creme de la creme of comedy.

“Yarmy’s Army” is  coordinating the show at the Hollywood Improv on Melrose at 12:30 on Sunday, March 25. The “Army’s”  corps includes Gary Owens, Howard Storm, Sam Denoff, Shelly Berman, Dick Van Patten, Ronnie Schell, Tim Conway,  Harvey Korman, To Poston, Jack Riley, Ron Clark, Chuck McCann, Rocy Kalish and Pat Harrington. 

Also scheduled to speak are Jack Knight and Mel Brooks, for whom Carey starred in almost all of his films. Budd Friedman, who will host, recalls that Carey, in the mid-’60s, was discovered at the N.Y. Improv by David Geffen, then in the mail room of the William Morris office. As a result, Geffen was promoted out of the mail room — and the rest is, well you know it.

R.I.P. Richard Jeni

The death of Richard Jeni also hit home with Budd Friedman. Jeni booked into improv franchises across the country and as he grew in stature, he’d often take in $80,000 in a weekend gig. “Eventually he even got too pricey for us as he moved into his own theaters around the country.”

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Jeni’s humor was also top-rated by Friedman’s stepson Ross Marks who inks the comedians on the “Tonight” show. Knowing the comedians on a intimate one-on-one basis, Friedman says, some comics have strange demands when playing their dates. “But Jani  was never a prima donna. He was always pleasant and performed often gratis for charities. I was shocked by his death.”

“Live” Laughing

Jonathan Winters will receive the First annual Heart of weSPARK Humanitarian Award. Robin Williams will present the award April 16 at the Alex Theatere in Glendale. The evening is a benefit for the weSPARK Cancer Support Centers. Winters is a cancer survivor. Bryan Cranston will M.C. The all-laugh show will also include Alonzo Bodden, Drew Carey & the Improv All-Stars, Paula Poundstone and Craig Shoemaker. For tickets, call weSPARK at 818-906-3022.    

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