Rick Newman: Founder Of Catch A Rising Star Comedy Club, Dies At The Age Of 81

In the 1970s, a generation of stand-up comedians, including Billy Crystal, Richard Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, and countless others, honed their craft at Rick Newman’s Catch a Rising Star comedy club in New York City. Rick Newman passed away on February 20 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Rick Newman Cause Of Death

According to his wife Krysi Newman, the cause was pancreatic cancer. Like Crystal and Lewis, she noted with confusion and a hint of nostalgia for a bygone era that Mr. Newman passed away the day after Belzer, the club’s longtime emcee.

“This place we felt safe in, where the common objective was to just get laughs, was what really brought us all together back then. There was no greater location for me.

His Career

Richard Zoglin wrote in “Comedy at the Edge” that Mr. Newman’s club, which was on First Avenue between 77th and 78th streets on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, “supercharged the stand-up comedy explosion of the 1970s” and at its height rivalled Studio 54 as a “celebrity-studded icon of the drugs-and-disco decade.”

Rick Newman
Source: Washington Post

Nine years after the Improv made its debut in Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side, Mr. Newman launched the club in the latter half of 1972. In contrast to his crosstown rival, a more competitive environment that appealed to more seasoned industry types, he positioned Catch as a place for up-and-comers to hone their material in a more welcoming environment.

Rough Time

Lewis recalled how customers seated at tables with red-and-white checkered tablecloths and said, “The Improv was more rough-and-tumble, more gritty, while Catch a Rising Star was a more homey kind of gathering.” “And Rick is to blame for that. He resembled the caring sibling that we all desired. When you worked there, he gave you the impression that anything was possible and that you were already famous.

Mr. Newman, who had previously owned a tavern in the city, had no intention of opening a comedy club when he took over the saloon that would become Catch a Rising Star.


1. Who was Rick Newman?

A. He was the founder of Catch a Rising Star comedy club

2. What was his profession?

A. Singer

3. How old was Rick Newman?

A. 81 years old

4. What happened to Rick Newman?

A. He died due to pancreatic cancer

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