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Allan Stephan, a comic who was part of Kinison’s “Outlaws of Comedy” crew and later the showrunner for Roseanne, never lived in Cresthill but spent countless hours there in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
“Comics were all of a sudden getting respect, so we could get away with murder," Stephan says.
Three years later, John Belushi died in Bungalow 3 of the Chateau Marmont, just up the road, after capping off a night of partying with a toxic speedball.Many more births and deaths have been figurative, onstage at the Store: Comics like David Letterman, Jay Leno, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, and Marc Maron found their voices here; many more, whose names have been mostly lost to history, shouted into the darkness of the Original Room and heard no reply.In 1976, when Mitzi Shore, the Comedy Store’s owner and enigmatic doyen (and mother of Pauly), bought the club, Cresthill, as it came to be known, was rolled into the deal.He was frequently on the road, and when he was, his wife Mitzi took over. She instituted an open-mic night for amateurs looking to take their shot.She rebuilt the room to focus everyone’s attention on the stage, took out the bar, and made customers order drinks from the waitresses, establishing the two-drink minimum that became de rigeur in clubs nationwide. When she and Sammy divorced in 1974, he gave her the club to lower his alimony payments; two years later, after being briefly evicted (and opening a new Comedy Store location in Westwood), she negotiated a deal to buy the entire building — plus Cresthill.