UCB Comedy Tour Performs
Reagan Mills, Tower Staff
November 11, 2011
Filed under News
Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) performed Tuesday night in the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, a much anticipated event on campus due to buzz about past UCB alumni and quality of performance.
Students were lined up waiting to enter the Great Room as much as 30 minutes in advance to get a good seat for the show. A few students had heard of UCB before the event on campus.
“I have a friend who is in the New York company, the shows are really funny,” said Ryan Macdonald, Class of 2013. “Also I know Amy Poehler was in it [UCB] so at least they have good alum.” Knowing that UCB gives quality performances is what lead Ryan back for more, and is actually the basis on which UCB was founded.
In 1996 Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh picked up their company and moved from Chicago to New York where they started the first UCB Theater. They soon began accepting auditions, and if accepted, one must start training with other members of UCB.
Anyone can join the theater group; in fact the performers from Tuesday said that there is even a physicist currently working with UCB. If one proves that they have significantly improved in their training they can be asked to go on tour or teach. Two of the performers from Tuesday, Fran Gillespie and Brandon Gardner, are currently performing for UCB as their full time job. They agreed that UCB is about affordable but high quality performances.
The show was an hour and a half with no breaks in between. The performers kicked off the show with asking for a volunteer. One excited freshman, louder than the rest, was picked and made his way to state. Gillespie asked him questions about his life: everything from where he grew up to his major to what he thinks about his roommate.
For the first half of the event, the four performers, Molly Lloyd, Brandon Scott Jones, Gillespie, and Gardner, took that freshman’s life and turned it into an improve show.
They acted out scenes about promoting the University, his 15 year old sister who thinks she is much older than her age, and his parents acting like he was dead because they couldn’t bear him being away at college. The material was relevant to college life, but ridiculous enough that it brought the audience to tears of laughter.
“It was an interesting performance, and a great turn out,” said Bill Hogan, Class of 2013.
SAGA and Program Board worked hard to make the event as entertaining as possible. The performers only had words of praise about Program Board. They were thoroughly impressed with the accommodations and felt that it was smooth sailing working with Program Board, in addition to the Board members being excellent hosts.
“Training [can be] intense, but being essentially a theater company, the sense of community is very strong. People are very passionate, some people are more vocally passionate than others, but everyone is passionate about the work and is striving towards the same goal,” said performer Jones.
Scenes about Renee Zellweger and Ryan Reynolds got a bit off track, and only encouraged the silliness of the performance.
The performers noted that UCB is not supposed to be the end goal of those in the company; they are encouraged to move on. They also mentioned, however, that there is an “always welcomed back” mentality.
The performers may move beyond UCB and join the distinguished alumni list which include Poehler, 30 Rock actor Scott Adsit and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writer Jon Friedman.
“I hope these people are famous one day so then I can say that I saw them first,” said Julie Brownell, a member of the class of 2014.