Variety Underground

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An improv, sketch and standup showcase that Sean Taylor has hosted at Parkside Lounge in the East Village on Thursday nights since 2002.

Structure

At first weekly, the bi-weekly and now monthly, Sean books a series of acts for his show. Originally he co-hosted the show with Tony Carnevale. Other co-hosts have included Carl Anheiter and Dave Thunder.

Significance

Variety Underground has been a place that new improv groups and stand-ups get their first experience performing in front of an audience. Among the groups who either debuted at VU or at least performed many times early in their career were Rogue Elephant, Krompf, Dave Hill, Dave Thunder, Brothers Hines and many UCBT house teams. VU has run for much longer than other similar type of shows. For a time almost everyone in the NYC improv scene had done a set of some kind at Variety Underground.

History

Respecto Montalban, an established and popular UCBT team, often performed in VU's early days after Tony suggested several of that team's members to be talking heads on shows at VH-1, where Tony was free-lancing as a writer.

In VU's early days, the "house band" of Variety Underground was the beat-boxer Shockwave. Shockwave would beat-box as acts stepped out on the stage. He'd also perform once a show, getting a suggestion of a musical note (hummed, not named) from the audience.