David Letterman Was ‘Petrified’ the First Time He Performed at the Comedy Store

The first episode of Showtime’s five-part docuseries about the Comedy Store premieres in just a few days, so why not watch a clip from it filled with a handful of other firsts? In the above video, Sebastian Maniscalco, Bill Burr, and David Letterman look back on the first time they heard of or performed at the legendary Los Angeles comedy club; as for Burr, the moment he drove by it for the first time, he says he thought to himself, Someday, I’m gonna play there.

But in Letterman’s case, his first time onstage at the Store led to some initial confusion and (misguided) disappointment about his future there. “Within two weeks of coming out here, I showed up on a Monday night and went onstage petrified, blinded by the light, and did okay — not great. I had no material,” Letterman says. The Store’s owner, the late Mitzi Shore, told Letterman he should come back, but when he returned the following week, his name wasn’t on the list of comedians scheduled to perform, which led to a week of Letterman pouting about not being “chosen” to take the stage. “I’m thinking, I think she said I should come back,” Letterman remembers, “and then finally, my friend George said, ‘Dumbass, you have to call in and they’ll give you a time.’”

In addition to Letterman, Maniscalco, and Burr, The Comedy Store features interviews with tons of comedians who have performed at the club, including Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Andrew Dice Clay, Chris Rock, Whitney Cummings, and Jay Leno. Check out the trailer for the docuseries here.

David Letterman’s First Time Onstage at the Comedy Store