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Posts tagged as ucb

Talking to Matt Walsh About His New Improvised Film, ‘Veep’, and More

One of the founders of the UCB Theatre and a friendly face in the comedy ecosystem, Matt Walsh returns to TV April 6th when Veep premieres its third season on HBO. In addition to Veep, Walsh has a number of other interesting projects up his sleeve including a role in the found-footage tornado film Into the Storm and David Cross’s directorial debut Hits. Most recently, Walsh turned to Indiegogo to crowdfund A Better You, an improvised film (the writer-director’s second, after High Road in 2011) starring co-writer Brian Huskey as a hypnotherapist in the midst [...]

Let's Talk About SNL's Diversity Problem

Kenan Thompson has been taking a lot of heat this week for a comment he made in a TV Guide interview about SNL's lack of a black female cast member, despite the recent hiring of six white performers. Following Jay Pharoah's rather blunt remark to theGrio that "They need to pay attention" and cast a black woman like Darmirra Brunson, Thompson had a more ambiguous response:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of [...]

Here Are Your New 'SNL' Featured Players

Deadline is reporting that SNL has four top candidates to add to the cast as featured players for the fall. While NBC has yet to announce the news, the report says that Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, and Noël Wells are "heavily rumored to land the coveted SNL spots." All four are performers from Los Angeles's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and each one has a series of popular web videos to his or her name. Milhiser is a member of the video sketch group Serious Lunch, Wells is known for her solo videos, and Mooney and Bennett both come from the sketch group Good Neighbor, which also [...]

This Week in Comedy: UCB's Del Close Marathon, Talking to Amy Schumer, and Maria Bamford's New Web Series

-We talked to Fred Armisen about leaving SNL and diving back into Portlandia.

-We talked to Amy Schumer about her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer.

-We made a guide to this weekend's Del Close Marathon at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NYC.

-We interviewed Maria Bamford on her new web series, Ask My Mom!, the guys behind comedy podcast Superego on their new country-rock album, and The Heat [...]

Talking to Katie Dippold About 'The Heat', Female Camaraderie, and Lots of Swearing

A UCB improviser and former Parks and Rec staff writer, Katie Dippold is behind one of this year's most highly anticipated summer comedy blockbusters. The Heat, which opens Friday and was directed by Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, stars Sandra Bullock as a federal agent and Melissa McCarthy as a Boston cop who are forced to team up to track down a drug dealer. I spoke with Katie at a press junket for the film, where we talked about female friendships in films and how Chris Gethard ended up playing himself in the movie.

How are you feeling? This is a lot of hype for your first film.

I'm excited. I'm nervous [...]

This Week In Web Videos: 'Exciting New Number System'

What’s the key to producing successful web videos? There’s no guidebook, that’s for sure. As much as we think we know what’s funny, what’ll get shared and featured on the likes of HuffPo and Splitsider, the viewing public is highly unpredictable. Luckily, creators aren’t totally in the dark — there are some unofficial rules of web media that start to guide our path toward digital success. Many have been talked about in this very column; you know the old faithfuls like “keep it under 3 minutes,” “keep it topical,” “relatable humor is good humor,” but perhaps the most salient “rule”, one creators’ share time and time again, is “Just make [...]

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 [...]

The New UCB Oral History Is Free All Weekend

In June, writer Brian Raftery released an e-book oral history of the UCB called High-Status Characters: How The Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed A City, Started A Scene, And Changed Comedy. It's been available for $2 this whole time, but you can download it for free this weekend only, as long as you have a Barnes & Noble account and a Nook app, which are both free (and you don't need a Nook for either). Go get all that free stuff, everybody!

Follow Friday: @MikeScollins

Everybody fancies themselves as some sort of wizard that can conjure up laughter by a few strokes of a keyboard, but only a few tweeters are truly worthy enough to have all of their witticisms transmitted to you, the ever busy comedy fan trying to navigate through an increasingly congested internet. Every Friday we'll make your life a little bit easier by introducing you to an individual that you might not know about who consistently makes us laugh and momentarily forget that other days of the week exist.

(If you're reading this from an RSS feed, jump on over to the website where you can actually view the tweets [...]

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 

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 [...]

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.

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 [...]

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.