Irving Azoff buys half of Levity Entertainment Group, jumps fully into comedy business

When Chelsea Handler named Irving Azoff as her new manager last October, the 66-year-old was only a month into his new partnership with MSG Entertainment.

Judi Brown-Marmel, partner at Levity Entertainment Group, told Billboard in May that having Azoff — a former music manager and chairman of Live Nation — in comedy is “absolutely good for the business,” adding: “Anytime somebody as reputable as he is, with the history of success he has, steps into the comedy game, it signals that this is a serious business.”

Well, well, well.

This week, Azoff announced he’d bought half of Levity.

“We are thrilled to have LEG join the AMSGE family,” Azoff’s announcement read. “Robert Hartmann, Stu Schreiberg, Norm Aladjem, and Judi Brown-Marmel have built a unique ecosystem to identify talent and provide them with career and content opportunities that extend across multiple distribution platforms worldwide.”

“The partnership with AMSGE brings us a wealth of resources and relationships that will further allow us to grow our clients’ careers and our overall business,” said LEG CEO Robert Hartmann. “There is only one Irving – his knowledge and experience is unprecedented. I also happen to think he has a promising future as a stand-up.”

Levity’s three most recognizable clients listed in every story about this: Jeff Dunham, Jenny McCarthy and Aaron McGruder. LEG also manages about 70 other clients, produces specials and concerts — it previously partnered with Comedy Central to release stand-up specials and has a new deal with NUVOtv to do likewise. LEG also has a stake in seven comedy clubs across the country, including the Hollywood Improv.

Hartmann’s plans include folding in his own interest in 24 other comedy clubs, which include Stand Up Live in Phoenix, Levity Live in West Nyack, N.Y., and locations from both the Improv and Funny Bone chains.

LEG’s interests also include the Sideshow Network of podcasts.

Over the past year, Azoff’s AMSGE has bought into multiple marketing and management services, too. And just yesterday, Azoff signed both Gwen Stefani and No Doubt on as clients.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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