Sunday, October 19, 2014

Help me ID all the caricatures in the Comedy Store's Twitter background!

The Comedy Store's Twitter background features some vague, tough-to-identify caricatures.

The Store, still on Sunset Boulevard.
Because of Marc Maron's twice-weekly WTF podcast, I've become fascinated with the Comedy Store, a West Hollywood comedy club that for over 40 years has served as a launchpad/proving ground for many aspiring stand-ups and that has also offered established funnymen and women a venue to try out their material in front of a live audience.

Over the years, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor, and many more have put in time at the Comedy Store. Marc Maron is a stand-up comic himself, as are the majority of his guests, and "The Store" looms large in their mythology.

The club was founded in 1972 by Sammy Shore (Pauly Shore's father) and Rudy De Luca, who is best known for his many collaborations with Mel Brooks (Silent Movie, Life Stinks, and more). In 1973, Sammy lost ownership of the club in a divorce settlement with his wife, Mitzi Shore (Pauly's mom). Mitzi then used this opportunity to become a self-appointed doyenne of the humor business for decades, offering career guidance to up-and-comers and dating many comedians (including Barney Miller's Steve Landesberg). Now in her 80s and in failing health, Mitzi has ceded control of the Store to others.

But the legend of the Comedy Store continues to grow. Looming largest of all in the mythology is a five-week period in 1979 when many of the venue's regular comedians went on "strike" for nonpayment, including Steve Lubetkin, who expressed his displeasure with Shore's managerial style by jumping off the roof of the building next door, killing himself in the process.

When Maron and other comedians speak of the Comedy Store, it is with a mixture of awe, terror, loyalty, and repulsion. The place seems to have a demonic, semi-seedy vibe to it. What other comedy club has been featured on Unsolved Mysteries? I sincerely hope that Maron someday writes a book called simply The Store. I'd buy the hell out of it.

I've only recently started following the Comedy Store on Twitter, and I couldn't help but notice a picture they were using as their background image. It's a collage of the famous comedians who have played the Store over the years, surrounded by stars and planets.

I'd like to think I'm fairly up on comedy history, but I can't quite identify all the people in this picture. I used the Wikipedia list of Comedy Store alumni, which helped a bit, but there were still a few folks I couldn't place. Maybe you'll do better than I did. Below, you'll see the five "unknown comics" in the constellation. I'm pretty sure the guy on the right is supposed to be Letterman's pal Jeff Altman, but I'm not 100% certain on that. The drawing is so nonspecific that it could be Louie Anderson.

The other four have me stumped. The three guys on the left look like rock stars, and the one woman could be anybody from Elayne Boosler to Roseanne Barr to Gilda Radner.

Look it over and make your best guesses. Thanks.

Here are five famous Comedy Store veterans I can't identify. (Except the last one is probably Jeff Altman.)