LOS ANGELES -- Improv comedy club owners Budd Friedman and Mark Lonow were going to bring 50 comedians to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences yesterday, when they presented their petition for a comedy category, but the academy warned it would bar the doors. Too many stand-ups.
So instead, Friedman and Lonow settled on four or five comedians, one for every 1,000 signatures on a petition urging the academy to designate a new Oscar category recognizing comedic talent in film.
"We have so many comics now that have gone into movies from TV who have never been fully recognized," said Friedman by phone earlier this week.
"We know we won't change the ballots this year, but we thought if we could get some momentum going, maybe we could make people aware that comedy should be recognized for what it is."
Friedman acknowledged George Schlatter's annual televised "American Comedy Awards," which honors comedic talent in film, television and comedy clubs, but said: "It's still not the academy. There's no prestige like the academy."
Friedman and Lonow, who is an actor, have been discussing this idea for several years.
"We're aware of what goes on in this world," said Friedman. "This
is just one thing that bothers us."