The Comedy Store

The Comedy Store is an American comedy club located in West Hollywood, California, at 8433 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip. An associated club is located in La Jolla, San Diego, California.[1]

The Comedy Store
The Comedy Store in 2006
Former namesCiro's
Address8433 West Sunset Boulevard
LocationWest Hollywood, California
Coordinates34.09510°N 118.37384°W / 34.09510; -118.37384
OwnerPeter H. Shore, Trustee of the Mitzi S. Shore Trust
TypeComedy club
CapacityMain room: 450
OpenedApril 1972 (1972-04)


The Comedy Store was opened in April 1972 by comedians Sammy Shore (1927–2019), and Rudy De Luca. The building was formerly the home of Ciro's, a popular Hollywood nightclub owned by William Wilkerson, and later a rock and roll venue,[2] where The Byrds were discovered in 1964.

When the venue reopened as The Comedy Store in 1972, it included a 99-seat theatre. As a result of a divorce settlement, Sammy Shore's ex-wife Mitzi Shore began operating the club in 1973, and she was able to buy the building in 1976. She immediately renovated and expanded the club to include a 450-seat main room.[3]

In 1974, The Comedy Store hosted the wedding reception of newlyweds Liza Minnelli (daughter of Judy Garland) and Jack Haley, Jr., (son of Jack Haley who played "the Tin Man" in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz). The Comedy Club signage was covered, for the evening, by signs reading "Ciro's", denoting the venue's prior identity. The event was attended by many dozens of Hollywood glitterati, including Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr., Cher, Bob Fosse, Johnny Carson, Goldie Hawn, Cesar Romero, Priscilla Presley and other stars, past and present. The soiree was so grand that Sunset Boulevard was temporarily blocked by police to allow Hollywood royalty to arrive in their limos unmolested by photographers and reporters.

Job action

Beginning in 1979, The Comedy Store served for many years as the host location for the annual HBO Young Comedians specials.

Also in 1979, stand-up comedians formed a short-lived labor union and demanded to be paid for their appearances at The Comedy Store. For six weeks (beginning in March),[4] several famous comedians staged a protest in front of the club, while others crossed the picket line.[4] The comedians involved formed a union called Comedians for Compensation and fought for pay where they had received none before. They eventually picketed in front of the club when their demands were not met. Jay Leno and David Letterman were among those on the picket line while Garry Shandling and Yakov Smirnoff crossed the line.[5]

The job action was not legally a strike as the comedians were classified as "independent contractors" and were not under contract with the club.

Mitzi Shore argued that the club was and had always been a showcase and training ground for young comedians and was not about profits. She alleged that comedians came to the club and could work on their material in front of casting agents and other talent scouts who would possibly hire them as professionals if they were good enough.

The comedians at the club became unhappy when the club was expanded several times and it was perceived that Shore's profits were quite substantial. Shore also paid the rest of her staff, including waitresses and bartenders.

After the strike, some comedians were no longer allowed to perform at the club, including Steve Lubetkin, who committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the Continental Hyatt House next door. His suicide note included the line: "My name is Steve Lubetkin. I used to work at The Comedy Store."[6] Lubetkin hoped that his suicide would resolve the labor dispute. He also cited Shore as the reason he no longer had a job.

The union ceased to exist in 1980, although from the time of the job action onward, comedians in Los Angeles were paid for their shows. This included The Comedy Store and The Improv.

Notable alumni

The history of the young comedians coming to Los Angeles in the 1970s and performing at the club is told in the book I'm Dying Up Here by William Knoedelseder.


On April 22, 2019, it was announced that a docu-series based on The Comedy Store will be released in 2020 on Showtime.[11]


  1. "The Comedy Store, La Jolla". The Comedy Store. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  2. Ogden, Tom (1999). "The Comedy Store". The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings. Alpha Books. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-02-863659-7. OCLC 42714505.
  3. Lord, Rosemary (2003). Hollywood Then and Now. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press. pp. 140–141. ISBN 1-59223-104-7.
  4. Zoglin, Richard (2008-02-04). "The First Comedy Strike". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  5. "Jokers Wild". New York Post. April 30, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  6. Knoedelseder, William (2009). I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy's Golden Era. New York, NY: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1586488961.
  7. Zoller Seitz, Matt (30 January 2015). ""Louis C.K. Live at the Comedy Store" Is Loose With Flashes of Brilliance". Vulture. New York.
  8. Martin, Brittany (April 11, 2018). "What Comedy Store Owner Mitzi Shore Meant to Yakov Smirnoff, Chris D'Elia, and Comedy in L.A." Los Angeles Magazine.
  9. The Comedy Store (23 February 2019). "Thank you Brody for sharing your Comedy and positive energy with us for so many years. You made late nights so much fun, pushing boundaries, being different, and never doing the same show twice. Joke writing, crowd work, drums, baseball. We love you forever Brody". Twitter.
  10. Rabin, Nathan (16 March 2012). "John Witherspoon". The A.V. Club.
  11. "Showtime(R) Documentary Films Announces Docu-Series About the Legendary Comedy Store". The Futon Critic. April 22, 2019.
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