Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre?

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. In 1999 they founded the UCB Theatre on 22nd Street, an 80 seat black box theatre. 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. In 2003, UCBT moved to 307 West 26th Street. In 2005 the UCB Theatre LA opened, making UCB Theatre the only bi-coastal sketch, improv and comedy theatre in the country. In 2011 UCBTNY opened a second venue in the East Village. In 2014 UCBTLA opened a second venue on Sunset Boulevard along with a Training Center in the same building. In December 2017 UCBTNY moved from their Chelsea location to 555 W. 42nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen.

UCBT 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 and sketch guerilla Training Center where students learn the art of improvisational and written comedy. If you are interested in taking classes check out our Training Center Page

Where is the UCB Theatre?


When are Tickets Available?

Schedules for both of our NYC theatres go up by the 20th of the previous month. So January’s scheduled would go up by December 20th. Most tickets are available for immediate purchase, but some shows like Asssscat 3000, Harold Night or Cage-Match have have a different ticket release. You can click on individual shows for that information.

How do I claim my tickets?

There are no physical tickets to claim. We begin checking-in customers 15-20 minutes before showtime. Customers arriving before the theatre is open for seating can ask a staff member where to wait. Once we begin checking people in, you will show your emailed ticket barcode displayed on your mobile device or you can print it out if you prefer. Please be prepared to show a photo ID of the ticket holder for admission to the show. If you lost your email, you will have to show photo ID to pick up tickets at the box office.

ALL TICKET SALES ARE FINAL. NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES.


Do I have an assigned seat?

No, seating is general admission. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to sit next to your party. We begin seating roughly 15-20 minutes before showtime. The later you arrive, the less likely it is you will be able to sit with your friends, family or weird work acquaintance. Late arrivals may not be granted entry due to disruption of the performance. Please allow time for MTA delays, walking from the subway, walking from the subway in shitty weather, parking (honestly, god speed parking in NYC my friend), etc.

What ages are admitted?

UCB Theatre is an all ages venue, but we ask that anyone 16 years or younger be accompanied by an adult. Most, if not all, of our shows contain adult language and content may not be appropriate for young or sensitive customers. If you have questions about a specific show, you can call us 212.366.9176 or email [email protected]

Can I photograph, videotape, record audio, snap, instagram story, stream, etc the show?

Hell No. There is absolutely no recording of any kind allowed without explicit permission from both the theatre and performers. In a world where everything seems to be accessible on a screen, take advantage of the live theatre you are about to see and enjoy it without a phone in front of your face. Get off that damn grid!

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 prewriting.

Can I perform improv at UCBT?

Yes! Our improv performers are all trained by the UCBT Longform Improvisation Training Center. Almost every level of class includes at least one performance on the UCBT stage. Once a year the UCB Theatre holds auditions for our house improv teams that perform on Lloyd Night. Pre-requisites for those auditions are announced on our message boards. In years past it has been, at the least, completion of our core curriculum (levels 101-401). But that can change year to year.

Class completion does not guarantee placement on a team. The chances are actually pretty slim. Hopefully you are taking class to become a better improviser, collaborator, performer and person. The rules of improv can be beneficial to leading a more fulfilling life.

I don’t want to take class! 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. It is also very rare to place improvisers on house teams who were not trained by us. If you have to ask…..

Can I write sketch at UCBT?

Yes! The UCBT also offers classes in sketch writing. Once a year the theatre will hold auditions for our house sketch teams known as Maude Teams. Pre-requisites for those submissions are announced on our message boards. In years past it has been, at the least, completion of our core curriculum (levels 101-301). But that can change year to year. Class completion does not guarantee placement on a team. The chances are actually pretty slim. Hopefully you are taking class to become a better writer, collaborator, director and person.

Can I perform sketch at UCBT?

Yes! Once a year the theatre will hold auditions for our house sketch teams known as Maude Teams. Pre-requisites for actor auditions are announced on our message boards. In years past it has been at the least, completion of two core UCB Classes. But that can change year to year. Class completion does not guarantee placement on a team. The chances are actually pretty slim. Hopefully you are taking class to become better at your craft or life.

What about Characters?

Glad you asked! We have a character team, Characters Welcome. And we hold auditions for it about twice a year. Pre-requisites for this are pretty complicated, and involve the completion of a few classes, but they are announced on our message boards. Again, class completion does not guarantee placement on a team.

My Sketch Group wants to perform at UCBT, can we?

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).

Do I HAVE to take a class to perform at the UCBT Theatre?

Us: Nope!
You: Cool!

We offer many performance opportunities open to all sketch writers/performers, character performers, improvisers and stand-ups. These opportunities occur at both of our Hell’s Kitchen and East Village stages. You can click the links below for more information.

Liquid Courage
BYOT
Improv Jam, Lady Jam, XYZ Jam, Rotisserie Jam, Nerds Jam
Out Sick: Character Jam, Open Character Mic
Open Mic, Open Michelle

Liquid Courage (Friday nights at midnight) is open to anyone who would like to perform sketch. 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.

How do I apply for a SPANK?

A Spank is our way of auditioning written shows for potential runs at the theatre. Each Spank show is 25-30 Minutes (It is not allowed to exceed 30 Minutes).

For more information on how this works, email [email protected]

Can I rent one of your theatres to film a sketch/tv show/movie?

We do allow productions on a case-by-case basis, pending theatre and staff availability. Rates will depend on the length/duration of the shoot, size of cast/crew, and/or other special requirements. For more information please contact [email protected].

Can I rent one of your theatres for a private event?

Yes, pending theatre and staff availability. Rates will depend on the length/nature of the event and number of guests/audience members. For more information please contact [email protected].