Mitzi Shore, the owner of Los Angeles’ famed Comedy Store, has died at the age of 87, the club confirmed Wednesday. Ever since starting the Comedy Store in 1972, Shore shepherded many young comics who went on to become stars, and even broke barriers by booking female and non-white comics before that was the industry norm — famous graduates of The Comedy Store include Robin Williams, David Letterman, Richard Pryor, Jim Carrey, and Garry Shandling, among many others. She also served as an inspiration for Melissa Leo’s comedy club owner in I’m Dying Up Here, the Showtime series about stand-up comedy in the ’70s.
“We’re like a school, or a boxers’ gym,” is how Shore described the club in a 1994 Los Angeles Times interview. “We’re here to help people develop their skills, and to get them seen by supportive comedy crowds, as well as by TV and movie people.”
In the wake of Shore’s death, The Comedy Store announced it would be closed on Wednesday, and released a full statement paying tribute to her. Check that out below, along with reactions from comics like Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron, and more.
“It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we report the passing of Mitzi Shore, the legendary Godmother of the world famous Comedy Store. Mitzi was an extraordinary businesswoman and decades ahead of her time who cultivated and celebrated the artistry of stand-up comedy. She was also a loving mother, not only to her own four children, but to the myriad of comedians who adored her. She leaves behind an indelible mark and legacy and has helped change the face of comedy. We will all miss her dearly.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Motion Picture and Television Fund, where The Comedy Store has created a Comedian’s Assistance Fund – https://www.mptf.com/donate.
The Comedy Store will be closed today.”