Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre?
The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is a 152-seat theatre in New York City that provides a performance home for hundreds of comedians.
The Upright Citizens Brigade (Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh) came to New York, from Chicago, in 1996. Noticing an absence of "Chicago-style" long form improv in the city, the four members of the UCB soon began their training program in 1997. The UCBT quickly became the place for great, cutting-edge, comedy. Casting directors, agents, festival producers, and journalists all began to flock to the theater to see the best comic talent in the city. And as buzz for the theater grew, the training program expanded even more with hundreds of students learning the art of improvised theater. Our theater at 307 West 26th Street continues to offer the best and most innovative improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy in the city every day of the week. In addition to our performance space, UCBT is home to an intensive Improv Guerilla Training Center where students learn the art of improvisational and written comedy. In 2005, the UCB Theatre LA opened to make the UCB Theatre the only bi-coastal sketch, improv, and comedy theatre in the country.
- What is longform improvisation?
Longform improvisation was pioneered by Del Close in Chicago at the Improv Olympic and was brought to New York City by the Upright Citizens Brigade. In longform improvisation, performers create an entire show consisting of interconnected scenes, characters, and ideas completely made-up on the spot with no pre-planning or pre-writing.
- Can I perform improv at the UCBT?
Yes! Our improv performers are all trained by the UCBT Longform Improvisation Training Center. Every level of class includes at least one performance on the UCBT stage. Upon completion of a Level 400 class, students are eligible to audition for a place on one of our performance teams that perform on Harold Night. Class completion does not guarantee placement on a team, and auditions are held as-needed (approximately 2-3 times per year).
- I don't want to take classes! Can I perform improv at UCBT anyway?
No. We do not typically produce improv shows created by improvisers who were not trained by our training center in the UCB-style of longform improvisation. We also do not place improvisers on house teams who were not trained by us.
- Can I perform sketch at the UCBT?
Yes! The UCBT also offers classes in sketch writing. Upon completion of a Sketch 201 class, you are eligible to be part of one of our writing and performance teams that create shows for Maude Night. We also offer many performance opportunities open to all sketch writers/performers. Liquid Courage (Friday nights at midnight) is open to anyone who would like to perform sketch. School Night (Wednesday nights at 11:00pm) is a variety show that often books sketch groups. At UCBEast we have B.Y.O.T. every Sunday at 10pm. If you are interested in performing at either of these shows, you should attend the show and talk to the host about performing at a later date.
- I don't want to take class! Can my sketch group perform at UCBT?
It's a really good idea to take a class because you'll learn the UCBT style and approach to sketch comedy. However, if you or your sketch group has a completed show you'd like to have considered for a run at the UCB Theatre, you should apply for a slot at SPANK (see below).
- Can I perform stand-up at the UCBT?
Yes! We offer a few performance opportunities for stand-up comedians. School Night (Wednesday nights at 11:00pm at UCBT Chelsea) is a variety show that often books stand-up comedians. Whiplash (Monday nights at 11:00pm at UCBT Chelsea) is a weekly stand-up showcase that features established, well-known stand-up comedians. At UCB East we have open-mic nights like Sledgehammer (Sunday nights at 5:30pm), Tuesday Night Open Mic (Tuesdays at 11pm), Open Michelle (Thursday nights at 5:30pm), and The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic (Fridays at 7pm)
- How do I apply for SPANK?
SPANKS are booked one month in advance. If you have a sketch show or one-person show and you are interested in a SPANK slot you should submit:
- A script or DVD
- Title of show
- Logline (What's the hook? Why is it funny? And why would we think it will be funny before we see it?)
- Cast list
- Name of director
Shows should not exceed 35 minutes in length — NO EXCEPTIONS. (30 minutes is preferable)
Your submission must be received by the 10th of the month. The Artistic Director will get back to you by the 20th to let you know if your show has been selected and what your SPANK date is for the following month. So, for instance, if you're interested in an April SPANK slot, submit by March 10th.
SPANK should not be used to workshop new shows, it is an audition for a run at the UCB Theatre. Shows should be completed, rehearsed, and ready to be seen by the Artistic Director for a potential run at the UCB Theatre. The logline will be very important in our selection criteria for Spank slots.
- Spank submissions should be mailed (or hand delivered) to:
- John Frusciante
- Artistic Associate
266 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
You can also email them to [email protected].
Please remember to include your e-mail and phone contact information.