#TBT Serious Night at the Comedy Store

George LopezIt is 1978.

There’s a young woman in my Badminton class that I want to impress. Yes, Badminton. I also took Aerobics. I’m taking Karate next semester, so laugh it up.

I’m on the college paper. We receive an invitation to The Comedy Store in Hollywood. We get stuff like this all the time – Passes to screenings. Records.

Robin agrees to go. I arrive my standard 15 minutes early and spend it punching the buttons on my car stereo – KMET, KLOS, KNAC, KWST, KROQ.

I meet the mom – I’m good with moms. They tend to like me. And then we’re off.

The Comedy Store was originally the world famous Ciro’s restaurant. It was turned into a comedy club in 1972. Alumni of The Comedy Store include Steve Martin, John Belushi, Andy Kaufman, and Richard Pryor.

We check in at the door. The bouncer says we can’t come in because Robin isn’t 21. Neither am I but he didn’t ask to see MY ID.

So much for my plans to impress my date. I point out I was INVITED. I point out there was no mention of 21 and over. I make a GOOD CASE.

The manager admits us and immediately directs us up a narrow staircase at the top of which is an apartment with a kitchenette, small living room, and a bathroom. There’s a balcony that looks out over the stage. This is one of the coolest apartments I’ve ever been in.

There’s another couple on the sofa – an older guy with a long, graying pony tail and his date, also not 21. We introduce ourselves and discover we are both journalists. And, it being Hollywood in the late ‘70s, let’s just say that not being able to drink wasn’t really a problem.

“I write for our college paper. What do you do?”

“Los Angeles Free Press. I was the only reporter that Charles Manson would talk to.”

Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Sam Kinison could have performed and we wouldn’t have known it. Okay, maybe not Kinison.

Robin, it turns out, is fascinated by the Tate-LaBianca murders. She spends the evening interviewing HIM.

So I get a second date with the woman obsessed with Charles Manson…