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Posts tagged as upright citizens brigade

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 Ridiculously Good Del Close Marathon Line-Up, Again

UCB has announced the schedule for its annual Del Close Marathon and as always, it seems too good to be true. The 56-hour long-form improv marathon has grown even from last year's insanity, featuring 420 shows on seven stages across New York City. There's an extra international quality to this year's festival, with teams from Mexico, UK, Portugal and Finland appearing. (Though there's also a team claiming to be from Caprica, so who the hell knows.) The highlights are spread across the stages, from the return of last year's amazing Mantzoukas and Morris at the main Chelsea theater, to several hours of Matt Besser's improv4humans at its [...]

A Love Letter To UCB's 15 Years In New York

To honor the UCB's 15 years in NYC and the opening of UCBeast, New York Mag checked in with about 50 alumni of the many-headed comedy hydra, who discuss everything from the troupe's guerilla improv days in Chicago (Horatio Sanz: "My idea was, 'How awesome would it be to be arrested in front of this audience, and have them thinking, Did they plan this? How did they get that cop car? What’s going on?'”) to the process of bringing long-form to NYC (Rob Corddry: "In 90 minutes, they changed how I felt and thought about comedy. It was punk rock — super dirty and loose.") Says Amy Poehler, [...]

Talking to the UCB About Their Theaters and Upcoming Radio Show

The AV Club has a great interview with Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh and Matt Besser about UCB's upcoming Sirius radio show, the two existing theaters and the upcoming 2nd theater they're opening in NYC. For folks even tangentially involved in their theaters, it's a must-read.

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 [...]

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.

Some Things I Learned As the Artistic Director of the UCB Theatre

It’s almost impossible these days to watch a comedy movie or TV sitcom that doesn’t feature a comedian from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre either on screen or behind the scenes. From SNL and NBC’s Thursday night line-up to shows on ABC, FOX, MTV, HBO, Adult Swim, Comedy Central and huge films like Bridesmaids, The Hangover(s), I Love You Man, The Other Guys, and many, many more — UCB has taken over.

In my role as Artistic Director of the UCB Theatre in New York City, I was lucky enough to be at ground zero of the UCB Comedy Boom (I’m also happy to say that I too am joining [...]

Checking In With the Cast of Upright Citizens Brigade

Whatever happened to predictability, the milkman, the paperboy, evening TV…and the cast and creators of Upright Citizens Brigade?

The list of hilarious and groundbreaking comedians who have trained at Upright Citizens Brigade is staggering. There are actors and actresses from The Office, Parks and Recreation, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Party Down — and that’s just a small portion of the TV shows represented. The film list is just as long and equally as impressive.

And it’s all thanks to Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, who together formed the UCB Theatre, first in New York then Los [...]

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 [...]

The Lost Roles of Amy Poehler

Over the past two decades, Amy Poehler has amassed one of the most impressive resumes in comedy history. Not only did she play a significant part in America’s largest comedy institution, Saturday Night Live, she also co-founded the UCB, a venerable comedy institution in its own right and one that grows in influence every year. If those were Amy Poehler’s only accomplishments, it’d still be pretty damned impressive, but, for the past three years, she’s produced and starred in Parks and Rec, arguably the best sitcom on TV. Throw on top of that recurring roles on Arrested Development and Late Night with Conan (before it was a hit) and [...]

Inside the Del Close Marathon's Three-Day Celebration of Improv and Sweaty Drunkenness

“Hey. Remember DCM? (I don’t. Please fill me in.)”

Four days after I get home from the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre’s 13th annual Del Close Marathon, this message pops up on my Facebook wall. I laugh for a second, trying to think of a stupid joke before realizing that — holy shit — I kind of can’t. Remember DCM, that is.

Towards the end, 50 straight hours of non-stop comedy on three stages (four, counting nightly featured shows) begin to blend together. Plus, the weekend-long festival is overcast by a frantic feeling of wanting to see everything (especially since this is likely your only annual chance to [...]

Looking Back at The Upright Citizens Brigade

The Upright Citizens Brigade began around 1990 as a live sketch group at the ImprovOlympic (now iO) Theater in Chicago. The iO was founded by improv legend Del Close, who mentored the group and provided the voiceover narration on their Comedy Central show's title sequence. Although almost all modern sketch comedy is indebted to Close and the Chicago improv scene, UCB bares the closest connection to the long form improv tradition. Many of their episodes (especially the early ones) are more or less modified Harolds, the canonical long form improv structure developed by Close. On a very basic level the Harold consists of three different scenarios that play out [...]