While going on a date to a comedy show is fun, going on a date to a comedy show in a deli, laundromat, barbershop, or sporting goods store is sure to be even better. Underground Overground Comedy, a new pop-up comedy show in New York City, brings laughs to unexpected places.
Underground Overground Comedy was founded by two native New Yorkers, David Levine and Ethan Mansoor, hoping to bring hilarious shows to even more hilarious venues. The two men were inspired to bring comedy to unconventional places when they saw a comedy show in the lobby of a hotel.
Such a large number of comedy clubs shut down during the pandemic, meaning these comedians were looking to perform anywhere and everywhere. Levine says that his physical therapist had opened a gym in early 2020, shutting down in March due to the pandemic spreading. There was no equipment filling the space, so Levine had the bright idea to host a show there. These quick ideas continued when Mansoor was soon after passing a laundromat and pictured a sold-out show in the space. With some convincing, the laundromat agreed and Underground Overground was born.
The duo has grown a lot since then, holding their first hit Katz’s Deli show last year. Tickets sold out in less than a minute, so another show was certainly due. On the stage for this year’s Katz’s show on November 15th there were great comedians like Matt Richards and SNL cast member Marcello Hernandez.
With their ticket, guests for the Katz show got unlimited drinks as well as one of the deli’s iconic pastrami sandwiches. Over 300 sandwiches were given out at the show last year.
Everything about the show is, on the surface, non-traditional. The lineup is purposely kept secret until the night of the show, so guests buy tickets without knowing who they will be seeing. The company doesn’t advertise openly either, simply using Instagram to promote shows and direct messages to get down a guest list. Shows are additionally one-night-only, so unless they decide to repeat a venue like Katz’s, guests have one chance to see comedy in these strange locations. Despite these less-than-traditional promotion methods, UO’s shows are consistently sold out and blowing up on the internet.
The spaces consistently work unexpectedly well, even given the fact that these businesses were not built to house comedy shows. Tables in Katz’s were moved around the traditionally structured deli to create the perfect venue, similar to the squeezing in of chairs at the iconic Economy Candy show. Some spaces work so well, though, that guests get whisked away from the moment and forget they’re even in such an unusual space. One moment you’re at Presher Fitness, a fitness center with a comedian spitting jokes inside a boxing ring, and the next you’re in your typical New York comedy club.
Next, check out Untapped New York’s Upcoming Walking Tours!