SXSW Comedy Spotlight: The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

Written by Samantha Pitchel | March 6, 2013
Photo via Upright Citizens Brigade

There are few institutions as deeply engrained in the modern comedy scene as The Upright Citizens Brigade, the bi-coastal network of theaters and training centers that began as a grassroots labor of love from co-founders Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. The starting point for countless comics currently starring in network comedies and box office hits, the UCB is a breeding ground for innovative, eclectic talent; its also known as a supportive community for fledgling and famed performers alike, a home for experimental acts to develop and for acclaimed shows to reach comedy-savvy crowds.

On Monday, March 11 at the Esther's Follies stage presented by TuneIn, The Upright Citizens Brigade is hosting two showcases spotlighting some of the theater's most talented improvisers and standups.

At 8:00pm, The Upright Citizens Brigade presents All Stars of Improv, where regular performers from both the New York City and Los Angeles theaters come together to improvise an original, completely one-of-a-kind show. Whether you're improv obsessed or have yet to see the art form in action, there are few groups as masterful as the UCB's all star touring team, which includes Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock), Neil Casey (Saturday Night Live), Jon Gabrus (MTV), Chris Gethard (IFC, The Office), Dru Johnston (CollegeHumor), Shannon O'Neill (ASSSSCAT), Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), and Joe Wengert (Kroll Show). Not sure what to expect from an improvised show? Watch as performers tell stories (based on your suggestions) that inspire scenes so perfectly paced, you'll swear they were scripted.

And at 10:00pm,  The Upright Citizens Brigade Standup Showcase is a sampler of some of the most exciting standups in the game today, including:

Jerrod Carmichael - A North Carolina native whose been taking the LA standup scene by storm, Carmichael was one of 2012's highest profile emerging comics; he also stars on forthcoming Fox series The Goodwin Games.

Chris Gethard - Host of cult hit The Chris Gethard Show and author of essay collection A Bad Idea I'm About To Do, Gethard has been a performer and teacher at UCB for over a decade; in addition to appearing on this season of The Office and at festivals including Bonnaroo and the SF Sketchfest, he's the current face of IFC's Adopt-A-Comic program.

Kyle Kinane - A regular face (and voice) on Comedy Central, Kinane's appeared on nearly every late night stage and on festivals across the world, and he recently released his second album, Whiskey Icarus.

Joe Wengert - Named a New Face of Comedy at Montreal's Just for Laughs 2012, Wengert is an accomplished standup and character actor who has written for Funny or Die, The Onion News Network, and Kroll Show.

That's not all the theater is involved with; here are some other UCB-related shows to check out at SXSW Comedy:

Sunday, March 10 at Esther's Follies: improv4humans Live Podcast Recording 

Tuesday, March 12 at The IFC Crossroads House: The Upright Citizens Brigade presents Stranger Than Fiction

Tuesday, March 12 at The IFC Crossroads House: The Chris Gethard Show

Check out the rest of the SXSW Comedy schedule.