Sunday night, Showtime will highlight one of the most iconic locations in standup comedy with The Comedy Store documentary series. The world-famous club on the Sunset Strip has helped bring such figures as Jim Carrey and Jay Leno to prominence, has been the go-to destination in Los Angeles since 1972 and it is still going strong. Now former comedian Mike Binder (Reign Over Me) will put some of the biggest names on full display, such as Annie Lederman, Whitney Cummings and Bill Burr.
Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com ahead of Sunday's season premiere, Lederman detailed her time contributing to the documentary, as well as her history with The Comedy Store. She explained that her interview segments for Episode 4 took place over a span of two years. Some occurred at her home while others took place at The Comedy Store itself. Although filming these segments led to Leberman being at the club at odd times.
"The sit-down stuff was the first thing I did," Lederman told PopCulture. "They had me come in one day, during the day — which by the way — going to The Comedy Store during the day is unbelievable. You definitely believe it's haunted. You're like, 'Everything's creaking. This is so weird.' It's a place that has such heavy traffic, but there's not that many people there. There's always an AA meeting in the Original Room. There's always something crazy and secret going on.
"So I walked by the AA meeting and I went and just sat on the stairs, going up to the Belly Room, and they interviewed me," Lederman continued. "That was the first interview. And then they started coming and filming. Originally, they weren't going to put my jokes in, but then they did. They started filming me before and after my sets and then apparently during my sets, and then they followed me."
Unlike many of the names that went through the story, Lederman didn't have as much knowledge of The Comedy Store before hitting the stage the first time. She started her standup career in New York and became more familiar with the clubs on the East Coast. Once she moved to Los Angeles, she set out to get some spots at the available clubs. Lederman said that she didn't know about getting "passed" by the booker and becoming a paid regular, which is a huge deal at The Comedy Store.
Lederman originally walked up to the doors searching for someone to talk to about a possible spot, but The Comedy Store was closed for the day. She returned years later after Marc Maron told her to stop by. He said that he would give her a recommendation and get her in front of the club's booker for a brief set. However, Lederman was calm overall heading to the spot.
"I was nervous for just a regular spot. But for me, I just thought I was going to get on a show here and there. I didn't know about being a regular, what a big deal it was," Lederman explained. "Thank God because I was so cool, calm and collected. I was just doing a regular five-minute set.
"I remember I was kind of trying to remember my jokes and I was pacing. I wish I could remember who talked to me, but I was pacing, just trying to remember my jokes, which is just par for the course for me. And someone came up to me they're like, 'Just relax, just be calm, just treat it like any other show.' And I was like, 'Yeah, of course. What are you talking about?'"
Lederman is newer to the store compared to some of the other names mentioned in the documentary, but she has quickly made a name for herself through her touring schedule, her podcast Meanspiration and her appearances on Lights Out with David Spade. People like Joe Rogan and Cummings have praised her comedy while Binder compared her to the late Richard Pryor — a legend in standup.
"I mean, it's really sweet. It's very flattering," Lederman said about the comparison. "You work really hard, and you just do your best, and you just put your head down and you write jokes, and then you try to have fun on stage and make your friends laugh. I think I've been really fortunate to have been able to hang out with some of the greatest living comics. To be compared to one of the greatest dead comics is incredible. I mean, that's really, really, really incredibly flattering.
"[...] I loved the whole piece Binder did on me. It was just really... I don't know, it was sweet. I was touched by it," she continued. "It's so cool because I just am me. So I'm just living, tumbling through my life, just like, 'What's happening?' It's cool that I get to see it, one, filmed and then, two, through the eyes of how Mike Binder sees me, and it was very sweet. It's very flattering. I was really grateful for the edit. ... Really appreciative of Mike and the whole group."
The Comedy Store premieres on Showtime on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET and features five episodes. Over the course of the historical series, Binder interviews such names as Lederman, Chris Rock, Tom Segura, Tim Allen, Andrew Dice Clay, Rogan and Howie Mandel. These figures — and many others — detail the amazing moments and tragic incidents that defined this iconic comedy club.