Splitsider

Posts tagged as ucb

Yee-haw! Come On Down to Splitsider's Dog & Pony Show This Coming Monday, July 21!

What better way to distract yourself from the seemingly unending horrors of the modern day world than with an hour of pure hilarity called Splitsider's Dog & Pony Show? Join your hosts me and Joe Stanton at UCBeast on Monday July 21 at 8:00pm to see such killer comedians as Adam Newman (Comedy Central Half Hour), Michelle Wolf (Late Night With Seth Meyers), Naomi Ekperigin (Broad City) and Hugh Moore (truTV's Friends Of The People). A truly sick lineup, if I do say myself. As always, tickets are only $5; RSVP for yours here.

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 [...]

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!

UCB Announces Its Packed 16th Annual Del Close Marathon Lineup

In a press release today, the Upright Citizens Brigade officially announced that its 16th annual weekend-long improv marathon DCM will take place from Friday, June 27th through Sunday, June 29th in New York and feature over 570 improv shows on eight different stages. UCB co-founders Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, and Matt Besser will kick off the marathon, which will continue throughout the weekend with improv teams from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Austin, Philadelphia, England, Canada, Japan, Finland, Puerto Rico, and more with shows starring the writers of Key & Peele and Late Night with Seth Meyers, a Broad City live show, reunions of [...]

Improv as Practical Life Advice

When you ask people to think of reasons why someone took an improv class for the first time you get answers like “I wanted to do something fun” or “I’m a huge comedy fan” or “I wanted to be able to think on my feet more for my job.”

(Side note: people often say “wanted to get better at public speaking” but only when they’re guessing why OTHER people might be taking improv classes.)

Improv classes aren’t as silly as you expect. Yes, they’re fun but they’re more like acting classes.  Many big comedy fans don’t know what long-form improv is, and they take a class because they’ve memorized [...]

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 [...]

This Week In Web Videos: 'Small, Medium, Tall'

We’ve discussed the adage “write what you know” many times in this column and have provided well over 100 examples of creators following it toward fantastic results. “Write who you know” has never been covered and that’s a huge oversight on my part. While writing what you know allows for the construction of believable worlds and set pieces, writing who you know brings these to life through the mouths and motions of characters without whom there would be no story. It occurs to me after watching Samantha Schecter’s Small, Medium, Tall  (starring Schecter, Danya LaBelle, and Elyse Brandau and shot by Russell Hasenauer) that writing who you know is [...]

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 [...]