Splitsider

Posts tagged as improv

This Week in Comedy: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Are Hosting the Next Two Golden Globes, and 'Community' Is Coming Back

-Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globes for the next two years.

-Kenan Thompson gave a quote about SNL's lack of diversity, and we investigated the issue in-depth.

-NBC announced Community is coming back in January.

-Former Academic Supervisor of UCB NY Will Hines wrote about improv as a religion and why people get obsessed.

-South Park missed its deadline for the first time in 16 years due to a power outage at the studio.

-We looked at how Louis C.K.'s directing style helps translate his standup to the screen in Louie.

-We reviewed The Birthday Boys' new IFC show, which [...]

British Troupe Calls for Improv to Be Considered for Prizes at Edinburgh Fringe

An improv troupe in the UK is calling for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to include improv shows when judging the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award. Producers for the award have said that improv is too difficult to judge because it is "impossible to compare performances seen on different nights with the amount of dependency on the audience." But on comedy site Chortle, British troupe The Noise Next Door have argued that good improvisers are in control of their shows and that "the quality of the comedy is down to the performers and that quality is entirely comparable."

The five-man group claims that "the days of Whose Line Is It Anyway? [...]

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 [...]

Poehler, Scheer, Kroll, Gethard, and More Reminisce About Past Del Close Marathons

"Among the UCB staff it’s unclear whether the Del Close Marathon is more loved or feared. It is literally like preparing for the funniest storm you could imagine—chairs and performers have been known to take to the air. The day after it’s over is always a relief, but I miss it immediately."

-UCB Theatre managing director Alex Sidtis about this weekend's upcoming improv marathon in a piece for Time Out New York that finds Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Jack McBrayer, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Chris Gethard, and more reminiscing about 

Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak #21: Cup-a-Soup

In this week’s episode, Doug Moe (Man v Child), Zhubin Parang (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), & Natasha Rothwell (The Curfew) join Abra to create a world where gnomes heckle, cakes get made, but dicks don't get touched at strip clubs, & Jackson Pollock steals scholarships.

This episode is sponsored by Audible. Head over to audiblepodcast.com/comfy to grab a 30-day free trial of Audible and a free audiobook of your choosing! Any book you want, for free!

Why People Get Obsessed: The Religion of Improv

A cult. A philosophy. A religion.

These are the terms people use to describe improv. The casual outsider would be amazed at how intensely some people view improv. It’s just a way to make jokes, right? Or a some guidelines for brainstorming together in public? Well, yes, it is those things. And to some people that’s all it is.

But something in the language of our culture communicates something grander. And so, those of us who really get into it, we automatically probe all of the advice we get for our scenes for something more.

There’s the content of the advice — the practical usefulness of it — and [...]

Improvisers Will Perform Live Commercials During 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'

For the next few Thursdays, episodes of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will feature live improvised ads, according to Variety. In an early commercial break, New York-based improvisers will ask for social media suggestions for an ad featuring the Lexus IS. In the final commercial break of the show, they will perform an improvised commercial based on the suggestions from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. The “It’s Your Move After Dark” campaign will be broadcast live from the Brooklyn Bridge, and feature improv groups like Fun Young Guys, Magnet Theater Touring Company, Stone Cold Fox, and MB’s Dream (which is, presumably, based on Mike Birbiglia's new UCB improv show). It's an interesting [...]

Watch a Short Documentary on Asssscat Starring Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, and Many More

Todd Bieber just released this great short documentary about Asssscat, the UCB's infamous Sunday night improv show that always brings in the biggest names in comedy to fuck around in front of an audience that, at least for the free 7:30pm show, has been lined up all afternoon to get in. It's a fun look behind the scenes and a peek at what it's like when basically all of your favorite funny people hang out eating pizza together in the UCB green room.

Splitsider's Guide to the 15th Annual Del Close Marathon

It’s that time of year again: the week when improvisers from across the globe gather in New York for 56 consecutive hours of shows (and parties) sponsored by the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The 15th annual Del Close Marathon promises to be the biggest yet, with 420 slots featuring house teams from the country’s best theaters (including iO and Second City), indie favorites (like LA’s Shakedown and NYC’s Gadget), reunions (fwand and Mother!), supergroups (Let’s Have A Ball, TourCo Allstars), and, of course, plenty of late night insanity (three words: Match. Game. 76.).

It's a lot to take in, but we're [...]

There's a New Oral History of the UCB Out Today in E-Book Form

Writer Brian Raftery has a new, exhaustive oral history of the Upright Citizens Brigade that was just released today, exclusively through Barnes & Noble's Nook program. Chronicling the UCB's rise from a small theater in the mid-'90s to a bicoastal behemoth now, the e-book is an expanded version of the excellent oral history of the UCB Raftery put together for New York magazine two years ago featuring interviews with Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Conan O'Brien, Ed Helms, Andy Richter, and many more. The e-book version, called High-Status Characters: How The Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed A City, Started A Scene, And Changed Comedy Forever, is [...]

Read an Oral History of LA's Wildly Influential Groundlings Theater

THR has a new oral history of The Groundlings Theater, the LA-based comedy institution where Phil Hartman, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, and also people not on SNL, like Paul Reubens, Lisa Kudrow, and Jim Rash, honed their chops before breaking into movies and TV. The piece contains the story of Reubens creating his character Pee-Wee Herman for a Groundlings workshop, a big fight between the creative heads of the theater, and a story about Lorne Michaels responding to a Groundling asking him how it feels to have Phil Hartman on SNL with, "I don't even have to go into work."

Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: Del Close's 'How to Speak Hip'

What better way to honor improv guru Del Close than with a post about a spoken word record he released in 1959? With an entire three-day marathon of improv, you say? Maybe. But sadly, the Del Close Marathon only comes once a year. Until DCM16, pick up a copy of How to Speak Hip, a hilarious satire of language-learning manuals. Del plays the teacher, instructing the listener on the language and lifestyle of the ellusive "hipster" that was such a popular subculture at the time. With John Brent playing the hipster, Del walks the listener through basic vocabulary and follows Brent through a typical beatnik day. Not only is [...]

Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak #22: Bagel Burger

In the final episode of Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak, Adam Frucci (Airwolf), Molly Lloyd (Airwolf), and Charlie Todd (Improv Everywhere) join Abra to create a world where rats get crazy with whey protein, smoky treats are encouraged, and you just may be a mathemagician.

This episode is sponsored by Audible. Head over to audiblepodcast.com/comfy to grab a 30-day free trial of Audible and a free audiobook of your choosing! Any book you want, for free!

Watch Some Trailers for the Return of 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'

Short-form improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway? is set to return to television July 16th on the CW network with new host Aisha Tyler and favorites Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady performing alongside a slew of guest stars. The CW released a series of short new promos for the season, which reveal some fourth seat guest stars, including Keegan-Michael Key, Jeff Davis, Heather Anne Campbell, Jonathan Mangum, Nyima Funk, Gary Anthony Williams, Kevin McHale, Lauren Cohan, Candice Accola, and unfortunately, no signs of Richard Simmons.

Check out the rest of the promos below: