Splitsider

Posts tagged as matt besser

The Inside Story of Whiplash, One of New York's Best and Most Influential Standup Shows

"Whiplash is like a magical kingdom where laughs run free and jelly beans are the main form of currency," says comedian Aparna Nancherla, of UCB's late night standup show. For half a decade, Whiplash has consistently proven itself as an exciting and eclectic show that stands out even in the city's buzzing comedy scene, a favorite of megastar names like Louis C.K. and Chris Rock as well as a reliable well-spring for the next big stars — the likes of Pete Holmes and Kumail Nanjiani were once regulars. It's the reason that Splitsider turned to Whiplash for our first concert film, where host Leo Allen welcomed Jared Logan, Sheng [...]

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 [...]

Improv's Babel: Defining the Game of the Scene

Interviews by Matt Visconage.

Improv was doomed with a semantics crisis from the start.

When long-form improvisation began to flourish as its own art form under comedy guru Del Close in Chicago in the 1980s, “improv” referred to The Improv, a popular chain of stand-up comedy clubs in dozens of cities around the country. The Palm Beach Improv, for example.

When I used to intern at an improv theater in Hollywood, it wasn’t uncommon to find a couple who wandered in from the street, expecting to see a guy with a microphone, telling jokes. Television shows like Whose Line Is It, Anyway? helped audiences distinguish improv from stand-up, [...]

It's That Episode 21: Matt Besser/'Teen Mom' – Letting Go

On "It's That Episode," Craig Rowin (UCB Theatre) invites guests over to his apartment to watch any episode of any TV show they want. They discuss the episode and a bunch of other crap. Episodes are released every Monday.

Matt Besser (Upright Citizens Brigade, Freak Dance, Improv4Humans) stops by to watch the downfall of society, AKA "Teen Mom." Matt and Craig talk about having babies without even knowing it, discuss a new adoption policy for the Christian right and get angry about how terrible the teen moms in "Teen Mom" are. Get ready to wallow in the infinite dark depths of "Teen Mom."

Matt Besser Launches Longform Improv Podcast on Earwolf

Do you like improv and podcasts? Sorry, I forgot who I was talking to. Do you loooooove improv and podcasts? Then this is fantastic news! UCB founder Matt Besser launched a new podcast on Earwolf today called improv4humans, and it consists of longform improv based on a one-word suggestion from Besser's Twitter followers. This must be what improv was like back in the golden days of radio, when people just listened to the scenes without the visual experience of watching guys in plaid and glasses cut imaginary vegetables. Back when the whole family would gather around the radio to hear FDR give his famous Fireside Monologues to generate [...]

Adam McKay Responds to Jim Breuer Saying He Got Him Fired from 'SNL'

Former SNL cast member Jim Breuer went on WTF with Marc Maron last month and claimed he heard from an NBC executive that Adam McKay, who was head writer for the show at the time, "fought adamantly" to have him fired. On this week's improv4humans, McKay told his side of the story to host Matt Besser:

The network made Lorne hire Jim Breuer when we came on. It was when the show's ratings were getting kind of low. So Jim then comes on the show, and Jim's a great guy. I had no problem with Jim whatsoever. Completely cool guy, wrote sketches, [I] put him in sketches. [...]

Looking Back at the Upright Citizen's Brigade TV Show with the UCB4

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 120,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater has been talked about quite a bit this month, with escalating Facebook messages, responses from people working in every [...]

Oh Hey, Matt Besser and Seth Morris, You're in the New Apple Ads

The videos star Josh Rabinowtiz, a stand-up who just performed as part of the Just For Laughs New Faces showcase last week.

Despite the comedic talent, the ads have not been particularly well received. Ken Segall, a former ad man who had worked with Steve Jobs, wrote on his personal blog:

I know it’s hard to say after viewing the new batch of Mac ads that debuted on the Olympics. I’m still in a bit of shock myself.

Sure, Apple has had a low point or two in its advertising past — but its low points are usually higher than most advertisers’ high points.

This is different. [...]

Talking with Matt Besser About 'Freak Dance,' improv4humans, and the Upcoming UCB Book

Freak Dance, the musical/dance movie parody written and directed by UCB's Matt Besser and co-directed by Neil Mahoney, follows a rich ballerina named Cocolonia who meets a ragtag group of street dancers named Funky Bunch, Sassy, Barrio, and Egghead who are forced to save their run-down studio after it gets shut down by the fascist building inspector for not having an egress (the original UCB theater was shut down for the same reason in 2002). While there are plenty of slickly shot dance scenes featuring winners from America's Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance busting their moves, the comedy is provided via UCB [...]

Grand Opening Of UCB's Second NY Location Is (You Got It) Improvised

This weekend saw the grand opening of the UCB's second location in New York, after two long years of securing licenses, tearing down walls, and proving that it's not a sex club. Those New Yorkers, always so worried about a little sex club here or there! UCB co-founders Matt Besser and Ian Roberts couldn't get to the big opening because of that darned snowstorm, but ultimately there was a show (featuring Fugazi's Ian MacKaye) that Amy Poehler called "the perfect combination of funny and weird and sloppy." Ah, improvisers, always rolling with the punches. Welcome, UCBeast!

Talking to Matt Walsh and Matt Besser About the New UCB Book, Improv, and the Future of UCB

Since longform improvisation was created by Del Close in the 1980s, there hasn't been a book on the art form as thorough as the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre's new improv textbook. Co-written by UCB co-founders Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh (Amy Poehler receives a "Special Thanks" credit), The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual is a new definitive tome on the subject that was released earlier this summer.

I recently had the chance to talk to Matt Besser and Matt Walsh about how the book came together, their improv pet peeves, their favorite performers, and the future of UCB.

Listen to Matt Besser and Ian Roberts Explain the History, Philosophy, and Economics of UCB

UCB Theatre founders Matt Besser and Ian Roberts did a special episode of Besser's Earwolf podcast improv4humans today, in which they walk listeners through the theater's philosophy and economics. In response to the recent internet hubbub over the theater's practice of not paying stand-ups, Besser and Roberts use the episode as a forum to explain that they use all the money generated by the theater's popular weekend shows to keep the place running during its less-popular free or cheap weekday shows. Check it out here.

Listen to Matt Besser Explain How People Constantly Misunderstand "Yes, and"

"'Yes, and' is about agreement. Agreement doesn't necessarily mean you literally say the word yes all the time… In fact you more often probably do say no. Agreement means I'm agreeing with the improviser, not that I'm agreeing with the character… Agreement is I'm agreeing to your premise." - Matt Besser on the latest episode of improv4humans explaining the common misconception over what "yes, and" means. It's part of a well-articulated rant on the subject that shows why he is an improv legend. You can download the episode on iTunes or listen to it here. Start at the 75:45 mark, so you don't have to hear Chris Gore talk [...]

Betrayal Planned for 'Anchorman 2'

And not just by milk! Adam McKay was on the improv4humans podcast today to do some improv, which is pretty cool in of itself. However, doubly cool is that host Matt Besser was able to squeeze some sweet, sweet Anchorman 2 gossip out of him. Other than revealing that they finished the outline and are just starting to write the thing, he was able to offer up this: "Betrayal from Christina Applegate. Betrayal from Alicia Corningstone." I assume he meant Veronica Corningstone, unless Christina Applegate will also be playing Veronica's twin sister, Alicia. I wonder what the betrayal will be? Maybe she'll get a better job or she'll [...]