New Jersey comedian John Poveromo brings laughs to Cats Den Underground


Comedians John Poveromo and Joanne Filan answer audience questions at the Cats Den Underground in Lexington, KY on Oct. 4, 2017.

New Jersey-based comedian John Poveromo visited UK’s Cats Den Underground Thursday for a night of laughs as part of the venue’s long-running Comedy Caravan series.

Poveromo, who has shared stages with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Drew Carey, and Gilbert Gottfried, amused the crowd with tales about life on the Jersey Shore, getting pulled over in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and getting an all-day caffeine high from a single 5-Hour Energy, among other topics. 

He was accompanied by fellow Jersey comic Joanne Filan, who referred to herself as “your lesbian for the evening” and included jokes about her experiences to match.

With over a decade of experience in the stand-up scene, Poveromo brought a combination of new jokes and established material to the Cats Den stage. 

One highlight of the show included a moment when an audience member audibly opened a bag of chips, leading Poveromo to quip, “I’ve been doing this for thirteen years and I’ve never been offered any snacks.”  

Before the show, Poveromo shared some of the details on how he draws humor from everyday life. “It has to be something that I find funny that I’ve experienced, so it’s dating, it’s social stuff,” he said.

Going as far back as the first grade, he knew he wanted to make people laugh, and found himself particularly inspired by the work of the late Robin Williams.

“He was my little gateway drug into comedy,” Poveromo said. “I didn’t know what standup was, but he was the bat in FernGully and the genie in Aladdin, and I used to mimic his voice in school and for friends.”

Poveromo found his own comedic voice through both Williams and his contemporaries. “Paul Reiser, Bill Maher, John Stewart, […] Ellen Degeneres, Lewis Black, all those guys are awesome,” he said. “It was always guys like that in standup, so I was like, ‘what the hell is standup?”

Another heavy influence came from Jerry Seinfeld and his TV show, with some of Poveromo’s favorite episodes including “The Airport” from the fourth season and “The Marine Biologist” from the fifth. 

Poveromo got his start in stand-up by taking a comedy class after spending a year in college. “From that point on I worked my way into and started doing open mics and stuff, and just never stopped,” he said.

After a fellow comic brought him on a tour early in his career, Poveromo would go on to perform at high-profile venues like Chicago and Hollywood’s Laugh Factory locations.

Of all of his experiences in stand-up, opening for Jimmy Fallon has been his favorite thus far. “I was 23, and it was the first time I’d gotten to open for a national headliner,” he said. “We did five shows together, and I was on this ridiculous high. It was crazy, because I was still working a day job at the time, too. For about five days, I got to feel what it was like to be a big stand-up.”

Poveromo’s current tour will continue with stops across the Northeast. His book of cartoons, Drawings From A Nobody, is available for pre-order on his website,

The Cats Den hosts Comedy Caravan shows on most Wednesday nights during the school year at 8 p.m., with the next scheduled for Oct. 11.