Mitzi Shore Net Worth | Celebrity Net Worth
What Was Mitzi Shore’s Net Worth?
Mitzi Shore was an American comedy club owner who had a net worth of $20 million at the time of her death in 2018. Mitzi Shore was best known for being the founder of the Los Angeles, California comedy club The Comedy Store. She founded The Comedy Store in 1972 and became the club’s owner two years later. Mitzi’s son is actor/comedian Pauly Shore. Mitzi also founded Comedy Channel Inc. in 1982.
She was exceptionally influential to up-and-coming comedians dating back several decades. Future superstars such as Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, and Sam Kinison all got their big breaks through The Comedy Store.
Mitzi acquired sole ownership of The Comedy Store in 1974 when she divorced Sammy Shore. Her son Peter Shore took over management of Mitzi’s financial affairs once Mitzi began suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A movie based on her life and impact on American comedy is in pre-production by Tom Hanks’ Playtone Company. Melissa Leo’s character on the Showtime series “I’m Dying Up Here” is based on Mitzi. Mitzi Shore died on April 11, 2018 at the age of 87.
Mitzi Shore was born Lillian Saidel on July 25, 1930, in Marinette, Wisconsin. Mitzi was the daughter of Fanny and Morris Saidel, and Morris worked as a traveling salesman. Shore grew up in a Jewish household near Green Bay, Wisconsin, and she studied at Green Bay East High School. After graduation, Mitzi enrolled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to study art, but she left school to marry comedian Sammy Shore.
In 1972, Sammy Shore co-founded The Comedy Store with actor/screenwriter Rudy De Luca, and Mitzi came up with the name of the club. Two years later, Mitzi and Sammy divorced, and Mitzi got The Comedy Store in the divorce settlement. A 2003 “Los Angeles Times” article stated that Sammy had said he “relinquished control of the club to lower his alimony payments.” After Mitzi took over ownership of The Comedy Store, comedian Shecky Greene gave her a sizeable cash loan to help her keep the club up and running. In addition to managing the club, Mitzi was also involved in recruiting and developing talent. Shore wouldn’t pay the comics who performed at The Comedy Store because she felt that the club was a “college of comedy” that enabled comedians to learn and hone their craft. In 1979, the club expanded and comedians began asking to get paid, and when Shore refused, they decided to picket, resulting in a strike that lasted six weeks. David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Tom Dreesen led the strike. After Budd Friedman, the owner of the Improv, started paying comedians, Mitzi agreed to pay $15 per set. This resulted in comedy clubs in New York City beginning to pay comedians, then clubs all over the country followed suit.
In the late ’70s, the upstairs area of The Comedy Store was converted into the 50-seat Belly Room, and Shore only booked female comedians there. At this time, stand-up comedy was seen as a “boys’ club,” and female comedians rarely got a chance to perform. Mitzi later created specialty nights for Latino and gay performers as well as Phat Tuesdays, which spotlighted Black comedians. In 2022, the documentary series “Phat Tuesdays: The Era Of Hip Hop Comedy” premiered on Amazon Prime Video. In 1982, Shore launched Comedy Channel Inc., a company dedicated to selling videotapes of Comedy Store performances, and she operated it until her death. HBO launched a premium cable service called The Comedy Channel in 1989, and Mitzi sued them for copyright infringement, alleging “indirect unauthorized use” of the Comedy Channel name and trademark. In 1991, the Comedy Channel merged with the Viacom channel Ha! to form CTV: The Comedy Network, which later became known as Comedy Central. Since the first Comedy Store opened on the Sunset Strip in 1972, locations have also opened on Westwood Blvd. in Los Angeles, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, California, and at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.
Mitzi married Sammy Shore in 1950, and they welcomed daughter Sandi and sons Pauly, Peter, and Scott, before divorcing in 1974. Sadly, Sandi died in September 2018, just a few months after Mitzi’s death. Shore suffered from Parkinson’s disease in her final years, and Peter took over management of her financial affairs after her diagnosis.
Mitzi passed away at a West Hollywood hospice on April 11, 2018, at the age of 87. Pauly paid tribute to his mother on Twitter, writing, “Looking back on my mom’s life, the one word that comes to mind is giver. She gave her heart, her soul, and her stages. So Mom, on behalf of myself and all of the other comedians, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for letting us develop our craft at the Store. Not only were you our comedy Godmother, you are my mother. We’d be nothing without you and your guidance. While you’re up in heaven, we will be down here on earth making sure the Main Room, Belly Room, and Original room stay sacred. I love you. You will always be in my heart.” Joe Rogan, who performed for free at The Comedy Store for 13 years and bought a sound system for the club, dedicated his comedy special “Strange Times” to Mitzi a few months after her death.
Mitzi owned a 5,000 square foot home on Cresthill Road near The Comedy Store, and in the late ’70s, she began letting the club’s comedians stay there. The house became known for all-night parties, drinking, and cocaine use, and in 1988, she decided to kick everyone out and turn the home into a recovery house. Within the next few years, Pauly moved into the home, and according to real estate records, it was sold for $750,000 in 1999.