Successful Underground Comedians

Underground comedians do not often rise to an international level of fame. Instead, they attain a niche audience as well as acclaim from their fellow peers. However, sometimes a comedian will start out as an underground talent and then become well known to large audiences. This is usually thanks to their appearances on film and television. The irony of succeeding in underground comedy is that it means going mainstream. Successful underground comedians may be individual acts or work as a troupe.

Tim and Eric

This duo is well known for their surreal and bizarre sense of humor. Their first TV show was an animated sitcom called Tom Goes To The Mayor. After this, Tim and Eric created the successful live-action series, Awesome Show Great Job. In 2012 a feature film called Billion Dollar Movie came out and helped them gain a wider international audience. They are now one of the most successful underground duos of all time.

Doug Stanhope

Doug Stanhope is a stand-up comedian who likes to focus on taboo subjects. Over the years he has developed a fictional persona of an alcoholic cynic. After starting out in the US comedy community, Stanhope appeared on the UK television series Screen Wipe. He also presents his own podcast where he interviews other comedians and celebrity guests.

The Young Ones Cast

During the 1980s a club called the Comedy Store was the hub for underground London comedians. Several of the bigger acts formed together to produce a TV series called The Young Ones. Set in a student house, it follows a group of misfits as they get into strange situations. The show was so successful that each of the main cast members went on to have big careers on the stage and screen.

Reeves and Mortimer

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are a variety act that uses magic illusions and also music to create a unique form of comedy. After spending years as a stage act, they transitioned to television. Their game show Shooting Stars has been called one of the most surreal programs ever made. Guests on the show are asked nonsensical questions and compete in ridiculous tasks.

Harry Enfield

Unlike some of the other acts on this list, Harry Enfield is not interested in observational humor. Instead, his focus is on creating very funny characters. Because of this, he was able to branch out and become a successful film and television actor. His teenage rebel character Kevin has appeared on sketch shows and movies.

Gilbert Gottfried

This New York-based comedian started out on the underground circuit when he was just 15 years old. His grating exaggerated voice was inspired by Jerry Lewis. Gottfried likes to include controversial and sometimes obscene material in his act. From the 1980s onwards he has starred in Hollywood films such as Beverly Hills Cop 2 and the Problem Child trilogy. Like Doug Stanhope, he also has his own successful podcast.

The Mighty Boosh

The Mighty Boosh is the name of several comedians who formed a troupe during the late 1990s. Their work has been described as “trippy” and “out there” by critics. They adapted their stage work into a radio series and then a TV show. Members such as Noel Fielding, Matt Berry and Julian Barratt have had successful solo careers in recent years.