The Comedy Store is easily regarded as one of the most well known and successful comedy clubs of all time. Over the years, it’s become instantly recognizable for anyone who’s wanted to go into comedy or is just a fan of comedy. And today, the club is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
A brief history about the club. The space itself has a storied history, as it had been two other nightclubs prior to becoming the Store. First it was Club Seville in 1935 before becoming Ciro’s which lasted from 1940 until 1957. In 1957, it then became Ciro’s Le Disc, which was a rock and roll club.
In April 1972, The Comedy Store officially opened. It’s owners were Sammy Shore and Rudy DeLuca. However in 1973, Shore’s wife Mitzi began operating the club as a result of their divorce settlement. She wound up buying the building in 1976. And under her watchful eye, the club started generating lots of buzz around it.
Just as the club was gaining significant popularity in the 70’s, there was some well-publicized tension between Shore and the comedians, who up until that point had been working at the club for free. Shore argued that she didn’t pay them because the club was essentially a showcase for talent scouts who would in turn hire them, if they were good enough. However, the comedians proceeded to strike and formed a union in 1979. Eventually, the comedians and Shore reached an agreement. They got paid, and the strike was ended.
Another dark area from that time was the death of Steve Lubetkin. Lubetkin was a comedian who – up until the strike – worked at the Store. However, he grew increasingly frustrated that he wasn’t getting stage time from Mitzi. And as a result, he jumped off of the roof of the Continental Hyatt House next door, landing in the parking lot of the Store. In his pockets they found a note that read “My name is Steve Lubetkin. I used to work at The Comedy Store.”
Despite that dark period of time, The Comedy Store continued to thrive throughout the 1980’s. It played a massive role in the comedy boom, where stand-up comedy became as popular as it had ever been. And like any other business that’s been around as long as the Store has, there are ebs and flows. However, within the last 10 years, there seemed to be a resurgence in its popularity once again we’ve seen.
To this day, The Comedy Store remains a hot spot for comics to go up and do what they do best. If you have a favorite comic working today, chances are pretty good they’ve walked through the door. Within the last 10 years, some of the comics you might have seen on any given night include Whitney Cummings, Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan, Jeff Ross, Anthony Jeselnik, Bert Kreischer, Nikki Glaser, Tom Segura, Bobby Lee, Marc Maron, Ari Shaffir, Joey Diaz, Taylor Tomlinson, Donnell Rawlings, Bryan Callen, Neal Brennan, Sebastian Maniscalco, Punkie Johnson, Chris D’Elia, Iliza Shlesinger, Doug Stanhope, Andrew Santino, Jesus Trejo, Sarah Silverman, Ms. Pat, the late Brody Stevens, and so many more.
All week this week, they are celebrating 50 years in comedy with some great lineups. More information on them can be found here.
All in all, The Comedy Store has a rich legacy in comedy that is well worth celebrating. Ask any comic who frequents there, and they’ll say that a big moment in their career was when they got to see their name written on the wall outside the club for the first time.
Congratulations on 50 years!!