The best medicine: The Comedy Store brings laughter to La Jolla

By Danielle Warren


Lately, the word on everyone’s lips seems to be “reduction.” Reduced work force, reduced spending, reduced water usage, reduced property values. But while these recent sacrifices are nothing to laugh at, that doesn’t mean laughter has to be reduced, too.

“Comedy is a release from everyday life,” local comedian Mike Vinn said. “The worse things get, the more important it is to be able to laugh.”

That’s where The Comedy Store in La Jolla comes in.

In 1972, comedian Sammy Shore--just off a three-year stint opening for Elvis Presley on the “Comeback Tour"--sublet a room on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. He crammed in 99 chairs and called it The Comedy Store.

Four wildly successful years later, a new Comedy Store opened in La Jolla, billed as a “paid vacation” for the Los Angeles comedians. The comedians came and the public quickly followed, and the club remains one of the most popular comedy spots in San Diego today.

“La Jolla Comedy Store is the premier comedy club in San Diego,” said Vinn, a regular in the club’s weekly “Best of San Diego” show. “There is a certain honor in being able to say you’re a regular comic at The Comedy Store. Some of the greatest comics have performed on that stage, from Cheech and Chong to (David) Letterman, Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel. The list goes on.”

La Jolla’s Comedy Store is a no-nonsense club designed to do one thing only: make the audience laugh. Faded black walls, duck-taped chairs and retro decor are unimpressive, but the countless headshots of past performers lining the walls remind visitors of why they came. The Comedy Store cultivates talent, and that talent wants you to laugh.

“It is entertaining and relaxing--you laugh and you forget,” frequent Comedy Store comedian Ray Anderson said. “No matter how mad you get, no matter how much you think something is the end of the world, if you laugh at it, the anger will go away, and the size of the matter will deplete tremendously.”

Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

The Comedy Store

-916 Pearl St., La Jolla

n (858) 454-9176


-Shows: 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, $8; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, $20; 8 p.m. Sundays, free; Open Mic 7 to 8 p.m. Sundays

-Two-drink minimum for all shows, age 21+

Words (and jokes) to the wise

Comedian Ray Anderson’s tips for enjoying a Comedy Store show

Give it a try

‘We have a huge demographic for a comedy show. Age, race, gender … it doesn’t matter. If it is funny, you will laugh.’

Relax, but not too much

‘Standup is a give and take. A comic feeds off the audience, and the audience feeds off him, so give the comedian your attention. Good listeners are a good audience.’


‘Laughter is contagious, and it sure feels a lot better than being angry.’

Get up close and personal

‘A lot of people want to shy away from sitting in the front, but the only time you are going to get made fun of is when you disrupt the show. Sitting in the front is the best way to connect with the comedian.’

Don’t be a heckler

‘There is always that one person who thinks they are helping the show by calling out. They’re not.’


‘Entertainment is the only job in the world where when you are done, people clap. Even if it is bad, people will still clap. It’s incredible.’