The club also served as a talent pool for Johnny Carson, who often chose young comedians who performed there, like Jay Leno and David Letterman, to be guests on his “Tonight Show.”

“Mitzi Shore was at the top of a long list of people responsible for my career,” Mr. Letterman wrote in a statement after her death. “She was a unique figure in a unique time.”

The Comedy Store and the comics who performed there in the 1970s were chronicled in “I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era” (2009), by William Knoedelseder. The book was adapted into a Showtime series, “I’m Dying Up Here,” which features a club owner, played by Melissa Leo, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Ms. Shore.

Marc Maron, the comedian, actor and host of the podcast “WTF With Marc Maron,” wrote in an email on Wednesday that the Store “was a dark, mythological castle in my mind,” adding, “I lived for the place.”

“Mitzi was the queen,” he continued. “She determined your fate. All you wanted was her approval, and you were terrified of not getting it. No person or place has bent my brain like that before or since.”


Ms. Shore opened the Comedy Store, on Sunset Strip, in 1972 with her husband, the comedian Sammy Shore.

The club and Ms. Shore were sometimes at the center of controversy, not least because for some years Ms. Shore did not pay her comedians. She told The Los Angeles Times that she saw comics as “independent contractors” and the Store as “a workshop environment” where they could work on material without the stress of a paid performance.

In 1979, a group of comedians went on strike for several weeks, and Ms. Shore agreed to pay them. But some of her regular acts departed for other clubs, like the Laugh Factory and the Improv, and Ms. Shore saw the whole affair as a betrayal.

“I didn’t deserve what they did to me,” she said.

Rick Newman, founder of the Catch a Rising Star comedy clubs, said in an interview on Wednesday that new comedy clubs usually struggle to cover expenses and also pay comics for at least a few years. Ms. Shore, he said, looked at the Store as “a comedy university” that helped young comics during their formative years.

“She was very opinionated, and the comedians appreciated her advice, her guidance, even the way she put shows together,” he said.

She was born Lillian Saidel on July 25, 1930, in Green Bay, Wis., to Morris and Fanny Saidel. She met Sammy Shore at a resort on Elkhart Lake, Wis., and they married and moved to California, where they had four children.

Her survivors include a daughter, Sandi; three sons, Peter, Scott and Pauly; and two grandchildren.

Pauly Shore is the comedian and actor who rose to fame on MTV and appeared in 1990s films like “Encino Man” and “Bio-Dome.” He also appeared at the Comedy Store.

But Ms. Shore could be a critical, honest audience even when she was related to the person onstage.

“I didn’t encourage Pauly,” she told The Times in 1994. “I made it tough for him. He had to work hard all around town before he got a break on the stage at the Comedy Store.”

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