Surf Reality started offering live performances on Nov. 6 1993 with a recurring monthly Waterline Theater Company show: “The Children of Pujol”.
We closed in April of 2003. Our final performance was a 28-hour Faceboyz open mic marathon called Surf Stock.
Surf Reality was at 172 Allen St. on the 2nd Fl. btw. Stanton and Rivington.
Serious Pratfalls started in April of 1994 and ran until sometime in 1998. That April 98 show was one of the last ones.
Comments about Surf Reality by Founder/Director Robert Prichard.
When we first opened, there was a pawn shop and a cocaine dealership that fronted as a deli directly below us and a Russian brothel in the basement. Theoretically, one could exchange stolen goods for cash, get some blow at the deli, grab a date in the basement and go upstairs and see a show at Surf all at the same address. For a while, 172 Allen Street was a one-stop shopping mall for the urban outlaw. The cocaine deli was busted 6 times in the first 3 years of Surf’s existence. Most often this happened while a show was in progress. A performer would be in the middle of a nervy bit and all of a sudden there’d be the sounds of some narc’s crowbars crashing through the crawl space between our floor and the deli’s ceiling. Outside there’d be a COP opera of swirling red, white and blue lights and coteries of various law enforcement agencies each with their own windbreakers: DEA, FBI, NY STATE POLICE, NYPD. Eventually, both the pawn shop and the crack deli spaces were merged and the radical feminist bookstore “Blue Stockings” moved in.
We had our own in-house sketch comedy troupe called “Mistress Elsa and The Bondage Theater Players”. We presented sketch comedy as performed by dominatrixes and submissives. We produced and performed “The Mistress of OZ” for the first NYC Fringe Festival in 1998 at Surf Reality. Other notable sketches included “Cinder-Elsa” and “The Wrath of Elsa” ( our Star Trek parody ) Mistress Elsa and The Bondage Theater Players were a featured mainstay in our other in-house production “The Witching Hour” which was a monthly all-female comedy/ variety show that ran from 1995-1999. Surf was a seed theater for the first 3 NYC International Fringe Festivals. We produced 3 Surf Comedy Festivals in 1995, 1999, and 2000. We participated in 2 Toyota Comedy Festivals. And we hosted Faceboyz Open Mic from 1994- 2003. Faceboyz was every Sunday night at 8 pm and it would often go until 4 or 5 in the morning.
Notable performers include: The Upright Citizens Brigade, Jim Gaffigan, Marc Maron, Maggie Estep, Jonathan Ames, Louis Black, Mike Epps, Ben Stiller, Michael Moschen, Kristin Schall, Neal Medlyn, Margaret Trigg, Rick Shapiro, Peter Pitofski, Red Bastard, We screened Louis CK’s movies at our 1999 Surf Comedy Festival.
Notable musical acts included King Missile, The Holy Modal Rounders, Seth Faergolzia, Moldy Peaches, Jeffrey Lewis, Sxip Shirey, Rob Paravonian, Tammy Faye Starlite
See the Vaudevisuals interview with Robert Prichard.