A New York City area comedian is getting to know small businesses and people across America in a new internet web series.
Paul Costabile has been interviewing celebrities and everyday people as a part of his career in comedy. His newest show, “The Pop-Up Show,” actually stems from his early days of comedy when he would go to Times Square with a cardboard desk and talk to people on the streets of New York City.
“I’m working as a host and comedian now, but that was the first thing I did on my own,” said Costabile. “I wanted to bring the cardboard desk back. Over the course of my career, talking to normal people and doing fun things with normal people is what I’ve enjoyed the most as an interviewer.”
With his musical sidekick Lucious and a tiny crew, Costabile packed up his cardboard desk and a lawn chair and took “The Pop-Up Show” on the road. Each episode is around 10 minutes long and is currently hosted on YouTube.
This first season covers New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. Though the series does take a brief look at areas like New York City and Boston, Costabile wanted to really narrow in on more rural areas, such as Woodstock, New York, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the woods of New Hampshire.
“It’s that division we all feel in America, it’s sold to us and spoon-fed by the things we watch. We’re going to go to all kinds of states where people vote differently and maybe believe in different things and we say, let’s have fun with them,” said Costabile. “We see how they live and the businesses they have. This show represents that we can go anywhere and have fun with anybody.”
Throughout the course of the show, Costabile meets regular people and goes sky-diving, explores the woods, and hangs out with Paul Revere reenactors, just to name some of the activities you can look forward to seeing. Along the way, Costabile talks to several small business owners that have survived the effects of COVID-19. Though he started filming the series in 2019, a lot of the travel and production took place after it became safe to travel again following the COVID lockdowns.
For Costabile, telling these stories and learning the local history is important because these places need our support to stay afloat.
“We go to the oldest country store and see a family-owned shop that has been open for over 100 years. It’s so special and it’s a dying breed,” said Costabile. “The show has more importance with that because it says, ‘Here’s how you support them.’ We wanted to act like a tool to help them. It’s not just about the food or gift shops, the products are just one-half of why things are great. People get that local traditional flavor.”
As to where the show will go next, Costabile hopes to go to the Midwest because there are a lot of places there that he has never been to before. However, Costabile is also open to suggestions on where to go next, which you can direct message him on Instagram or Twitter @PaulCostabile.
“My goal is to tell so many great stories in America. We often see things through the lens of coastal media and major cities, but I’m intrigued with small towns. We go to some big markets, but to go to a small town in Iowa and talk to the people would be awesome,” said Costabile.
Regardless of what place is next, Costabile is looking forward to talking to more people and learning more about what makes them tick while having some fun along the way.
“That’s what I’m most interested in. I fell in love with people, I do it for a job on other shows,” said Costabile. “I love to find real people and highlight them and have fun with them.”