The west coast epicenter for the 1970s stand-up comedy explosion, Los Angeles’s The Comedy Store, is set to be the subject of a four-episode documentary series for Showtime.
Writer, director and former Comedy Store alum Mike Binder is helming the untitled series for the cable outlet which is expected to have a 2020 debut.
The Comedy Store was founded by husband and wife business partners Sammy and mitzi Shore and Rudy DeLuca in 1972. Following the Shores’s marital split a year later, Mitzy gained control of the business and bought the building itself – formerly the famed 1940s and ’50s Hollywood nightclub Ciro’s – in 1976.
Situated in West Hollywood, the Comedy Store soon became a mecca for young aspiring comics lured by the glamour of show business and, perhaps more importantly, the club’s proximity to The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson studio, whose talent scouts regularly dropped by the Comedy Store looking for fresh faces to feature on the late night talk show.
Over the years, the Comedy Store helped to launch the careers of generations of comics from the likes of Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Jat Leno and Gary Shandling who were all early performers on its stage to more recent comedy stars such as Marc Maron and Sarah Silverman.
The Comedy Store was also the center of the famed 1979 Comedy Strike. Comics. Upset that they were not being paid for their performances – Mitzi maintained that the club was a showcase and training ground for comics who could then go out onto the road or make TV appearances for money – many comedians picketed outside the club until Shore finally agreed to compensate them for their work.
This is not the first time that the iconic comedy club has become the center of a series for Showtime. The cable outlet broadcast two seasons of the series I’m Dyin’ Up Here, a roman a clef fictionalized adaptation of author William Knoedelseder’s history of The Comedy Store of the same name with Melissa Leo starring as the series’s ersatz Mitzy Shore. The series ran for two season from 2017 to 2018.