The building was built in the late 30s to be a ritzy nightclub, Ciro's, for Hollywood's rich and famous, offering top entertainment. For nearly 20 years, Ciro's was one of the most popular hangouts for successful, well-known film industry people from both sides of the camera.
During this time, the Mob "had its fingers in this club." Gangster Mickey Cohen was known to shake down the place once a week, and carry out unpleasant mob business in the basement of the place.
During the '60s, the venue of the club changed to a rock and roll stage acts, up until the mid-1970s. The building then became the new home of the top-rated Comedy Store, offering stand up comedy from such funny people as Bette Midler, Robin Williams, John Belushi, Gary Shandling, Michael Keaton,Arsenio Hall, Richard Belzer and Sam Kinison. The Comedy Store still offers the top up and coming talent, as well as more established comics.
This three story building has a stage, backstage dressing rooms, a basement storage area below the stage, the original showroom and the main showroom, a kitchen, an annex off the kitchen. Offices are located in the second and third floors of the building.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
There are least 5 ghosts that hang around the building, all that originate from the 1940s and 1950s, probably as a result of Mob activities. They become most active when the place is quiet, especially in the early morning hours. Though, they have been known to be active during different times of the day as well.
The doorman and security man, Blake Clark, had several experiences in the original showroom.
While locking up one night, he saw a chair on the stage slide effortlessly all by itself across the stage.
One evening, while Sam Kinison was on the stage of the original showroom, Clark was next door, closing up the main showroom. As he heard Sam Kinison go through his comic routine, getting louder and louder as was his custom, Clark heard a low buzz of voices, which got louder and louder. When Sam reached his trademark scream, Clark heard the voices angrily chanting, "It's him. It's him. It's him."
The ghosts did their best to dissuade Sam from performing. They messed with the lights, and interfered with the sound system, annoying Sam. One night, Sam boldly challenged the ghosts to show themselves. The lights all went out.
One quiet afternoon, Blake was playing a video game in a room near the kitchen. He suddenly felt a presence watching him, about 3 feet behind him. Looking out of the corner of his eye, he saw a man dressed in a WW 2 brown leather bomber jacket. Turning to say something to him, Blake could see right through the man, who faded away right before his eyes.
That same afternoon, this same man in the brown leather bomber jacket, appeared in a third floor office in front of an assistant, Debbie. He was crouching in a corner, terrified. He faded away before her eyes. It seems that he may have been killed in this office, by an associate of Mickey Cohen.
Because of the experiences that people have gone through in the basement, it is thought that the basement is the heart of the building, because that is where the Mob tortured and /or killed those who had displeased them.
In 1982, Dr. Taft and his UCLA parapsychology team came to investigate the The Comedy Club because of all the activity of the ghosts. When they got to the backstage area by the dressing rooms, two coins fell from the ceiling. When they got to the basement, the psychic Dr. Taft suddenly was overcome by agonizing pain in his legs. He had picked up the horrible pain some unfortunate soul had suffered, inflicted by someone else. One torture tactic of the Mob was to break legs and knees.
Blake himself had a terrifying experience there one early morning at 3 AM. He had heard a low "guttural growl" coming from the basement. Blake bravely went down to investigate. The padlocked gate in front of the basement was bending out, like something was pushing, trying to get out. The gate suddenly snapped back into place. But before his eyes, he saw a huge black form now standing in front of the gate, an entity that radiated evil and malevolence. Blake didn't stick around to see what it would do, and flew up the stairs and out of the building.
In fact Blake doesn't go into the basement at all any more, ever since a piece of black cardboard fell from nowhere, hitting his hand, while he and a friend were in the basement. He turned the cardboard over, and his name was scrawled on it. It knew his name! Yikes!!
In 1994, a segment for the TV series, "Haunted Hollywood," was filmed in the original main room. Dr. Taft came along to watch the taping. He saw in the back of the room, three men, all dressed in 1940s style suits, including the fashionable wide lapels. After the filming, everyone packed up and left, leaving Taft the last one to leave. Taft came up to them to acknowledge them, as they were still standing there. However, these solid-looking apparitions disappeared before his eyes.
An evil entity lurks around the basement. Perhaps it is the ghost of one of Mickey Cohen's sadistic henchmen who carried out the punishment there. The four other known ghosts also still make the living there aware of their presence.