Mitzi Shore, co-founder of famed comedy club The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, died Wednesday morning at the age of 87.
The club released a statement on Shore’s death to Deadline, similar to the one posted to their Facebook page:
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.
Shore’s club—which she opened in 1972—hosted comedians like Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, and Jim Carrey. The L.A. Times reports that, in fact, Carrey once worked the door at The Comedy Store. He and a number of other comedians were deeply involved in Shore’s life, leading many to call her the “godmother” of comedy.
The first Comedy Store was co-established by her former husband, but upon their divorce he handed her the reins in exchange for reduced alimony payments. She eventually opened three outposts, in Westwood, La Jolla, and in Las Vegas. Her stages became the place to go to be scouted, work on material, and move on to greater things:
“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 career was not without controversy; in the late seventies, a group of comedians walked out of the club in protest over Shore paying headliners to fill her Vegas location. She ended up giving stand ups a pay increase to end the picket line.
Shore is survived by her four children, one of whom is comedian Pauly Shore. He tweeted early Wednesday about his mother’s passing:
Other comedians are sharing their condolences:
In 2009, it was reported that the club would be inherited by either Pauly or Peter Shore, who have been responsible for its operations for some time.