The Comedy Store in La Jolla– A Legend by the Beach

outside view of the front of the comedy store in La Jolla, a black building covered with the names of great comics in white

An iconic club from L.A. that brought comedy to La Jolla

A visit to La Jolla is great for many reasons, including the incredible coastal landscape, the barking sea lions of La Jolla Cove, perfect weather, and more activities than you know what to do with. But many may not know that La Jolla is also an iconic part of the stand-up comedy scene, providing night after night of laughs at The Comedy Store in La Jolla.

It’s the perfect mood booster, and you’ll walk away from the night with a piece of Comedy Store magic and connection over laughter. The legend of The Comedy Store in La Jolla started with comedy greats and emerging comedy stars coming down from the original Los Angeles Comedy Store to perform their acts, bond with their fellow comedians, and break from the pressures of L.A.

The Comedy Store in La Jolla continues to be a thriving fixture in the stand-up comedy world for those who like to come out to get a healthy dose of laughter and for new and seasoned comedians who want to be a part of this historic club.

Keep reading to learn how The Comedy Store became the renowned, highly respected comedy club pioneer and what you can expect when visiting the Comedy Store in La Jolla today.

History

The Comedy Store is a legendary comedy club in Los Angeles founded in 1972 by Mitzi Shore, a legend in her own right. The store, located on the Sunset Strip, is known for being the launching pad of some of the most famous and successful comics in our history. 

Well-known comedians like Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jim Carrey, and Richard Pryor were some of the greats who came out of the Comedy Store machine. Every night, there was a rotating roster of comedians feeling the rush to perform in front of audiences and hone their craft. Comedy is a rough business, and the store was the gathering place for hungry comics hustling their way through the chaos of L.A. trying to make it in comedy.

Getting passed

The store became a cultural institution and continues to impact the comedy world today. Owner Mitzi Shore was the mother of comedy, and the Comedy Store was home. The goal of any comic coming up to work their material on an amateur night was waiting for their shot to become a paid regular at the club. 

But first, Mitzi had to ‘pass’ them, and she’d let them know when they were ready. For decades, every comic was passed by Mitzi herself. Until then, comedians stuck around, surrounded themselves with the greats, and worked on improving their acts.

Coming to La Jolla

As the Comedy Store grew in popularity, Mitzi and her son Scott saw an opportunity to expand the store and took the club to the bottom floor of a Pacific Beach restaurant in San Diego, where the P.B. Shore Club is now. They ran the club there for a year before moving to La Jolla. 

Mitzi was happier with this new La Jolla location because the building used to be a disco and had ideal acoustics, perfect for comedy. Comedy veteran Argus Hamilton told sdnews.com that it was “the best comedy room in the country.” In 1977, The La Jolla Comedy Store opened at 916 Pearl St, where it remains today.

In the early days of operation, comics couldn’t get to La Jolla before they had already paid their dues in L.A. So by the time comics made it to La Jolla, Mitzi had already passed them, and they were seasoned in their craft. Comics knew they were good enough if invited to work the La Jolla store. The Comedy Store in La Jolla was also more relaxed because comics weren’t worrying about having eyes on them to determine if they were good enough. Their dues were paid.

The comics even had a condo in Pacific Beach that Mitzi bought so they could stay while working and enjoying the town. She wanted them to enjoy their time in San Diego before returning to the chaos and grind that comes with doing comedy in L.A.

For many years, the standard was that if you were passed in L.A., you were good enough to be sent down to The Comedy Store in La Jolla. That model eventually shifted, and although comics in L.A. still looked forward to coming to La Jolla, comics getting their start at the La Jolla store are working their way up to L.A. instead. For example, popular comedian and San Diego native Bobby Lee started at the La Jolla Comedy Store in the 90s.

The Comedy Store in La Jolla Today

Today, the Comedy Store in La Jolla invites lovers of Comedy to come out to be a part of its history and experience a place where comedy legends live on in spirit. The store keeps its calendar full, featuring national touring comics and headliners, open mic nights, locals nights, and roast battles.

As you approach the Comedy Store, you’ll notice its iconic sign and black exterior with names written in white all over the building, naming all the talented comedians in history who are part of the Comedy Store family. Inside, the room is small and cozy, with black walls and the stage the focal point, with the neon Comedy Store sign casting an orange glow over the audience.

Drinks and showtimes

There’s a 2-drink minimum per person for all shows, guests must be 21 and over to enter, and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For weekend headliners, there are usually two show times per evening, at 7 pm and 9:30 pm., with weekday events between 7 pm and 8 pm. 

Shows are uncensored, ranging from “clean” to “blue.” Clean means free from profanity, vulgarity, and sexual content, and “blue” contains explicit language, sexual humor, and other mature themes. You can hear all genres of comedy come through the store, so each time you come out is a fun and different experience. 

Parking

Parking can be found on nearby streets. The store only serves hot fresh popcorn you can enjoy during the show, so take your party to dinner at one of many delicious restaurants in La Jolla before the show. If you’re looking for a great spot for cocktails in La Jolla, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites here. The two-drink minimum at the club does not have to be alcoholic, just in case you meet your cocktail quota for the night while out at dinner.

The Comedy Store is a cherished landmark that has left an indelible mark on the world of stand-up comedy. They’ve proven resilient and enduring through the years, and their special place in La Jolla will forever be held in high regard for future generations of comedy lovers. So if you’re looking for fun activities in La Jolla, consider filling a night with laughter at this beloved club. Check out their calendar to see what’s coming up, and get out to enjoy a show with friends.

What to do in La Jolla before the show

Shows at The Comedy Store are typically after 7 pm, so there’s plenty of time to fit a few other activities in before heading to the show. For example, you could walk the Village of La Jolla to browse the variety of boutique shops, take a self-guided tour to find the murals of La Jolla, go watch the sea lions of La Jolla Cove, or take the short hike of the Coast Walk Trail. There’s no shortage of things to do in La Jolla.

For even more tips on what to do during your visit, check out our guides to La Jolla Cove and the Village of La Jolla.

Where to Eat Near the Comedy Store in La Jolla

La Jolla’s restaurant scene is vast, with various options, whether you’re looking for casual or upscale. Here are a few restaurants near the Comedy Store, perfect for grabbing a bite with friends before the show.

El Pescador Fish Market

When the New York Times spent 36 hours in San Diego, El Pescador Fish Market in La Jolla was one of their stops. El Pescador has been a popular fish market in La Jolla for over 40 years, serving the freshest seafood, plates, sandwiches, tacos, and more. Beers on tap too!

The Taco Stand

You may have to arrive with plenty of time before the show if you want to order from The Taco Stand, but it’ll be worth the wait. The Taco Stand is known for its authentic tacos, with carne asada, pollo asado, and al pastor being the favorites. They also have burritos, quesadillas, and beer!

Pizza Pronto

Pizza Pronto is a great spot to go to before the show to share gourmet pizzas, filling sandwiches, salads, wraps, kabobs, and pasta. 

For even more tips on where to dine out in La Jolla, check out our blog posts, The Best La Jolla Bars for Cocktail Hour, and La Jolla Restaurants With a View.

Picture of Valorie Hirsch

Valorie Hirsch

Valorie Hirsch is a Content Manager and writer at lajolla.ca, helping readers discover the best of La Jolla, from things to do, dining, events, and more, so visitors and locals can have the best experience and stay connected. A San Diego native, you can usually find her enjoying live music shows, hiking local trails, tackling the world's most difficult reads, or catching up with her favorite Instagram cat celebrities.
Picture of Valorie Hirsch

Valorie Hirsch

Valorie Hirsch is a Content Manager and writer at lajolla.ca, helping readers discover the best of La Jolla, from things to do, dining, events, and more, so visitors and locals can have the best experience and stay connected. A San Diego native, you can usually find her enjoying live music shows, hiking local trails, tackling the world's most difficult reads, or catching up with her favorite Instagram cat celebrities.

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