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Monday, July 1st, 2013

The UCB Improv Manual Is Finally Here

The long-awaited UCB improv manual has arrived! At Friday's opening press conference for the 15th Del Close Marathon, a mysterious box joined the UCB 4 on stage and quickly upstaged its famous co-stars; each time Ian Roberts held it above his head, chants of "Box! Box! Box!" filled the small basement theater. When someone finally asked the now-annual question about the progress of the group's book, the box (which had been joined by three brother boxes) was ripped open to triumphantly reveal The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual.

Written by Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, the book was years in the making due to the busy schedules of the group's members. The trio made a point to meet up and write together, often from 7 to 10 in the morning, Roberts said later at a press event. "And it took a long time because we really worked hard to make sure that you could read it and understand it as someone completely uninitiated to improv," he added. "So we would challenge ourselves: 'Ok, but they've never been to a class. They've never seen an improv show. Would they understand that?' And you had to proof everything that way. So it was a long process." The first 200 books were sold at DCM over the weekend, and the improv manual will be released later in July, at UCB theaters and its online store. Roberts said they have no plans to go on a book tour or do much publicity. "We think that most people that'd be interested in this would know about us and just come to us for the book."

Photo courtesy of UCBTheatreNY's instagram. 

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  • rogerbix

    In other news, sales of "Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation" suddenly plummet, as UCB students are required to buy the new book instead.

  • IhateDisqus

    Lemme get this straight…the book took years to write because they wanted to make sure it could be understood by someone completely uninitiated to improv (who had never even seen an improv show) BUT they have no plans on doing a book tour because anyone who is interested will already know about them. Seems like a hilarious premise for a scene.

  • Hi, Let's Be Friends

    Our team learned improv JUST from this book. Before DCM this year, I have seen one live improv show. No one else in our group had.

    We got pre-release copies of this book as an experiment about 3 months ago, and we performed a Harold at Chelsea on Sunday at DCM15 for a full house.

    Totally amazing experience.

    • Shane Smith

      What's your team name?

      • Hi, Let's Be Friends

        Hi, Let's Be Friends

        • Shane Smith

          haha of course, sorry, missed it on the list. You were right after us. Wish I could have stuck around to see you guys!

          • Hi, Let's Be Friends

            Oh, what was your group? We had a performance on Friday and one on Sunday.

          • Shane Smith

            Mister Diplomat, and Escape Plan

          • Hi, Let's Be Friends

            Oh, I think we saw you guys backstage before you went on. Were you the group that slapped each other? Haha

          • Shane Smith

            Yup! That was us!

          • Guest

            Oh I think I

    • Spruchy

      You were great on Improv4Humans!!!

      • Hi, Let's Be Friends

        That means a lot to me! Thank you so much, it was a very terrifying experience.

    • twingeeks

      Oh I think I was in a class with one of you guys – and I met one of you on the way out of the Party Space on Sunday night. Great work – especially given that it came just from that book. In fact that's crazy.

  • dimoko

    the whole thing about humor, comedy and improvisation is that it should be unique and new, not from a book…this seems like an odd thing to produce.

    • Hi, Let's Be Friends

      This book isn't a "How to be funny" guide. It outlines rules for successful longform improv.

      • twingeeks

        Rules which you are free to break – lots of performers do. Everyone becomes their own school of improv. It's just lots of guidelines. And a large part of things like Ian's Flashing exercise is that it will train you to dig from your personal experience to be funny and unique.

        • Hi, Let's Be Friends

          I totally agree. I guess the word 'guidelines' fits better. In any case, they helped us go from zero to improv in about 2 months.