Mitzi Shore, whose club was a comedy mecca, dies at 87

LOS ANGELES — Mitzi Shore, owner of the Los Angeles club the Comedy Store and one of the most influential figures in stand-up for more than four decades, died Wednesday. She was 87.

“My heart lays heavy,’’ her son, the comedian and actor Pauly Shore, tweeted.

No cause was given, but legal documents filed by her family said she had Parkinson’s disease among other problems.


Starting in 1974, Mitzi Shore gave comics gigs, advice, guidance, a clubhouse to hang out and talk shop in, and occasionally a stairwell to sleep in.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
A look at the news and events shaping the day ahead, delivered every weekday.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Born Mitzi Saidel in Marinette, Wis., she took over ownership of the 2-year-old club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip after divorcing its co-founder, comedian Sammy Shore, in 1974.

She arrived at a moment when a huge stand-up boom was erupting and became a queen over the scene, with arguably more power than anyone to make or break the career of an up-and-coming comedian.

Virtually every major comic from Richard Pryor to Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld used the club as a stepping-stone and returned to hone their acts.

The doorman job was a famous entryway into comedy for aspiring stand-ups, including Jim Carrey and Marc Maron.


‘‘Mitzi Shore was a pioneer who gave more comics their start than I can count,’’ Kathy Griffin tweeted. ‘‘She was a woman in a male dominated business who pulled no punches.’’