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There’s a secret comedy show coming to Katz’s Deli—pastrami included

This comedy duo hosts shows in the unlikeliest places around town.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Underground Overground Comedy has hosted comedy shows in some of the unlikeliest places around town (a laundromat, a barbershop and a tattoo parlor, to name a few), but the event producers have always dreamed of hosting a show at Katz’s Delicatessen. 

Now, David Levine and Ethan Mansoor are making that dream a reality with a late-night show at the iconic Lower East Side deli on Wednesday, November 16. The line-up is a secret (it’s really good, trust us), but it’s not hush-hush that each ticket includes a gigantic pastrami sandwich. Don’t worry, the sandwich will be served after the show, so the pastrami won’t inhibit your laughter. Tickets—which are likely to go very fast—go on sale on Friday, October 14 at noon, so consider this your reminder to set an alarm (here's a pre-sale link).

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“As NYC small businesses go, if you’re talking about what represents that theme, Katz’s is just an institution that’s been around for 130 years,” Mansoor said. “David and I have memories of going there as kids. You walk in there—it’s a frenzy.”

It'll be the first comedy show at Katz's in the deli's 134-year history, the organizers say.

Levine and Mansoor, both 24, are the brains behind Underground Overground Comedy, which quickly grew a following through Instagram and regularly sells out shows. The whole premise of Underground Overground is unconventional: They don’t advertise the shows, relying on a Google form waitlist instead, and they host in some of the quirkiest places around New York City. But it works so, so well. 

David Levine at left and Ethan Mansoor at right with comedian Napoleon Emil.
Photograph: By Will DeVito / David Levine at left and Ethan Mansoor at right with comedian Napoleon Emil in the center.

Underground Overground has hosted funny folks like Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, Sam Morril, Dan Soder, Jessica Kirson, and Zarna Garg among others in the 75 shows they’ve hosted since launching in April 2021.  

“My favorite part of a comedy show is when you’ve never heard of someone and you’re laughing your ass off,” Mansoor said. “We’re just shooting for the moon in terms of comics right now.”

Levine and Mansoor grew up together in the city playing chess and attending stand-up shows. Now that they’re the ones hosting shows, they’re always on the hunt for the next venue—and it could be, really, anywhere. New York City, in a way, has become their chessboard these days. 

Katz's Deli pastrami
Photograph: Courtesy of Katz's Deli

For now, the duo is focusing on the Katz’s show. They’ll have just one hour on November 16 to transform the space from a deli into a comedy club for one ephemeral moment. But they hope to host a show at Katz’s again in the future—and maybe even leave a bigger impression someday. 

“Our goal is to have our photos on the wall someday," Levine said. 

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