Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore, RIP
Mitzi Shore, the founder and owner of iconic Los Angeles club The Comedy Store has died at age 87. The Comedy Store, which is closed tonight in her honor, shared the sad news:
It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we report the passing of Mitzi Shore. Mitzi was an extraordinary woman and leader who identified, cultivated and celebrated comedy’s best performers. She helped change the face of comedy and leaves behind an indelible mark and legacy in the entertainment industry and stand-up community. We will all miss her dearly
Mitzi and her ex-husband, Sammy, founded The Comedy Store in 1972 and it was the training ground and home for such greats as Garry Shandling, Robin Williams, David Letterman, Roseanne Barr, Aresnio Hall, and more, and pretty much anyone who was anyone did sets there. From The Los Angeles Times:
For at least a dozen years, she was “all-powerful, during a remarkably fertile time for stand-up comedy — the 1970s and early ’80s — when many of today’s comedy stars showed up in L.A. to go onstage at the only place that mattered,” Paul Brownfield, who covered comedy for The Times, wrote in 2003.
The first comedian to officially share her life was her husband, Sammy Shore, who founded the Comedy Store in 1972 with fellow comic Rudy DeLuca. When the Shores divorced two years later, Sammy gave her the club as a way of lowering his alimony payments.
A mother of four, Mitzi Shore in essence gained a fifth child — the Comedy Store that she had named. When she took over, it was more of a variety room than a comedy club, but she transformed it into a three-room showcase for stand-up.
“Comics felt very belittled in those days — they always had to work with a singer,” Shore recalled in 1993 in The Times. “I wanted it to be all comics. No jugglers and magicians. I wanted to give them respectability.”
Her timing was excellent. In 1972, Johnny Carson had moved “The Tonight Show” from New York to Los Angeles, helping to make L.A. the place for young comedians who strove to appear on his show, and the Comedy Store was “the place to be seen,” Brownfield wrote in 2003.
Mitzi’s son, Pauly Shore, wrote “Mom/Mitzi passed Early in the morning at 4.42 am she was 87 years old my heart lays heavy.”
Rest in peace, Mitzi. Read more tributes and remembrances from comedians including Marc Maron, Eddie Griffin, Patton Oswalt, and Kathy Griffin, below.
Mitzi Shore made an indelible mark on comedy and my brain. ‘You’re a poet. You should wear a scarf on stage.’ RIP
— marc maron (@marcmaron) April 11, 2018
She got me off the streets gave me a place to stay I worked 2 jobs; doorman & paid comic. Thank you Mitzi for giving social misfits a place to call home & grow into social engineers. I love you. Richard & Robin will greet you. Give em the Light! #EGGC pic.twitter.com/6V96b6AOOY
— Eddie Griffin (@EddieGriffinCom) April 11, 2018
Mitzi Shore was a pioneer who gave more comics their start than I can count…I did my first legit comedy gig at the Store. She was a woman in a male dominated business who pulled no punches, something I always admired. My heart goes out to @paulyshore and the entire Shore family pic.twitter.com/kabGgWMVuR
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) April 11, 2018
RIP Mitzi Shore. I should’ve taken the doorman job when you offered it to me.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 11, 2018
RIP Mitzi Shore – She was and will forever be the most innovative and influential person in stand up comedy. The Comedy Store is not just a club, but a community where I've met friends that I will have for the rest of my life. Mitzi – Love you, you're impossible to follow.
— Al Madrigal (@almadrigal) April 11, 2018
RIP MITZI SHORE
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) April 11, 2018
— Judy Gold (@JewdyGold) April 11, 2018
— Judy Gold (@JewdyGold) April 11, 2018
The first comedy club show I ever saw (the night I turned 21) was at the La Jolla Comedy Store and the first time I ever did stand-up was on Pot Luck night at the Comedy Store in LA. Might never have tried stand-up if it wasn’t for those rooms. Thanks and RIP, Mitzi Shore.
— Doug Benson (@DougBenson) April 11, 2018
I love you Mitzi Shore. Rest In Peace. Thank you for giving me a family and a home. ❤️@TheComedyStore
— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) April 11, 2018
This amazing lady helped shape the American comedy landscape for decades. Mitzi Shore was, and will remain, an absolute legend. My condolences to @PaulyShore on the loss of his Mom and to the @TheComedyStore for the loss of a friend. https://t.co/slVgKMPgck
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) April 11, 2018
#MitziShore created something very special for comics and a very special space for women. She was ahead of her time, a true outlier. Her legacy has had a direct impact on the comic I have become and, for that, I am forever grateful. ❤️ I’m sorry @PaulyShore
— Iliza Shlesinger (@iliza) April 11, 2018
RIP Mitzi Shore Thank you for creating a home for all us outcasts, rebels & dreamers; thank you for artist colony @TheComedyStore that is equal parts classroom & recess, and thank you for the opportunity to experience your guidance, support & tough love❤️
The Phone Guy
— Mark Ellis (@markellislive) April 11, 2018