×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kathy Griffin Remembers Mitzi Shore: ‘I Owe Her My First Shot’

I was in the Groundlings main company doing sketches. A girlfriend of mine named Judy Toll, who went on to become a writer on “Sex and the City” and was a really funny comedian, was in the Groundlings but was also doing sets at The Comedy Store, founded by Mitzi Shore. I was doing a kind of stand-up at the Groundlings, and people there like Judy and Lisa Kudrow told me that they thought I would be better at stand-up than sketch comedy, because I would tell these personal, kind of unique stories. But I was scared to try a comedy club. It’s such a different environment than the Groundlings Theatre, which was a 99-seat theater with no bar. But Judy said, “Let me see if I can talk to Mitzi and if I can get you a good, respectable, 10- to 15-minute audition slot.”

So I went with Judy to the Store, and Judy, who was a rare female comedian, went to talk to Mitzi, who was the only female club owner of significance. This was 1990 or ’91, and I think Sam Kinison was at her table. She was surrounded by her guys — the guy comics. It was a kind of kiss-the-ring situation. Judy literally couldn’t get me a seat at the table, but she was like, “I’m going to approach the table.” And she got me the slot.

I had what they called a guest set. Mitzi watched me, and I had the very unusual experience of my very first set going unbelievably well. I killed. So Mitzi started giving me more spots. And then, I swear to God, I bombed for two years. I ended up not doing very well at the Store and not making my career there. But I was fascinated by the culture there. Whenever I could, I would get one of my comedian buddies to take me there and I’d hang out. To just see a female with that influence and how the guys hung on her every word was incredible. She could really talk to those dudes in a way that they never had a female talk to them, and they listened to her and took her seriously. It was interesting to observe a time, which we’re probably going back to with this fucking administration, where a powerful woman had to govern a little bit by fear. I was intimidated by Mitzi and I admired her.

Many people owe her their careers, and I owe her my first shot. I bombed for two years after, but I got a taste of something. Those two years I was bombing, what kept me going was the memory of that first set, and the belief that I could get back there again, getting those laughs.

Kathy Griffin is a stand-up comedian and comic actress. Mitzi Shore died April 11 in West Hollywood. She was 87.

More Biz

  • Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis

    Hipgnosis Songs Raises Another $295 Million

    Hot on the heels of its deal to acquire a catalog of 108 Timbaland copyrights, Hipgnosis Songs has raised another $295 million (£231 million) — putting its total to nearly $800 million to date. According to the announcement, a total of 231,000,000 C Shares have been placed by Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP  and J.P. Morgan [...]

  • Los Angeles Times

    L.A. Times Reaches Agreement With Guild

    The L.A. Times has reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents the bulk of its non-management employees, the paper announced Wednesday. The agreement follows more than a year of negotiations. The 475 reporters, copy editors, photographers and other staff covered by the agreement must still vote for ratification. Assuming it is approved, it [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp Trial Over Location Manager's Assault Suit Delayed to May

    Update: On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Holly Fujie ordered the trial postponed. A new trial date was set for May 11, 2020. Johnny Depp is expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom next week for a trial on a lawsuit alleging that he punched a location manager during the 2017 shoot for “City of Lies.” [...]

  • Stranger Things Season 3

    Netflix Undershoots U.S. Subscriber Adds for Q3, Beats Profit Forecast

    Netflix fell slightly short of its U.S. subscriber forecast in the third quarter — and projected lower Q4 subscriber growth than Wall Street was expecting as competition looms from Apple and Disney. Still, the company reported solid gains, announcing a Q3 record for paid subscriber additions and revenue, and handily topped analyst forecasts for profit. [...]

  • Despacito Luis Fonsi Daddy Yankee

    'Despacito' Tops Vevo's Most-Watched Videos of the Past Decade Chart

    In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Vevo today announced its Top 10 lists of the decade’s most-watched music videos. Not surprisingly, the Most-Watched Music Video accolade goes to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee), with 6.4 billion views since its release in early 2017. The second most-viewed video is Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content