Here’s a theme-park–style map of what’s happening where and when:
The marathon used to be only at the UCB Theater, and you can still spend the whole weekend there, but be prepared for a long line and occasionally getting cleared out for a theater cleaning. You’ll see primetime shows, representation of improv from different places, a lot of New York groups in the early hours, the perennial Sunday breakfast with Krompf, and weirdo shit in the middle of the night …but don’t think that the second stages don’t offer just as much great improv.
- UCB Theater – 307 West 26th St.
Fri 4:30PM to Sun 8PM
Hall of Famous People
Want to say “I saw so-and-so to friends, family, and co-workers? There’s a bunch of opportunities. The Colbert Show writers, John Lutz and Scott Adsit from 30 Rock, Horatio Sanz and Bobby Moynihan from SNL, and more will appear on the pay-per-show 4th stage at FIT*, along with Donald Glover (Community, Childish Gambino) and the rest of viral-video stars Derrick Comedy.
You can also see SNL featured players Vanessa Bayer [Sat 10PM UCB] and Paul Brittain [Fri 10:30PM UCB], Rich Sommer (Mad Men) [Sat 9:30PM UCB], Doug Benson (Super High Me) doing his podcast and bothering stand-ups [Fri & Sat 12:30AM UCB], and the improvisers who play the writers who never talk on 30 Rock [Sun 5:30PM Hudson Guild].
Plus, of course you can see the Upright Citizens Brigade—but probably not Amy Poehler—[Sat 7:15PM UCB] and any famous people who just so happen to show up to something, like past surprises Sarah Silverman and Brooke Shields. And the Sunday 8PM ASSSSCAT 3000 show at Haft Auditorium* is sure to be chock-full of stars finishing up the weekend.
You could call this Tomorrowland. Catch some college teams and spot the next wave of talent. Post-graduation, the standouts you like will head to improv hubs for classes, put together shows all around the country, or pop up on TV and in movies. You might even be able to cheer for your alma mater.
- Urban Stages – 259 West 30th St.
Sat 10AM-2PM & Sun 10AM-5PM
- UCB Theater – 307 West 26th St.
Fri-into-Sat and Sat-into-Sun midnight to 6AM
Improvisers from across the country and Canada (and Finland this year!) make their way to New York for the Marathon. Check out what the improv is like in New York, Chicago, Boston, Austin, LA, DC, Toronto, Vancouver, Philly, Phoenix, Florida, North Carolina, Syracuse, San Francisco, and much more. What’s your home town? There might be a group from around there performing and representing.
- noonish to midnight on all stages
Do you like Glee and/or Broadway and/or improv? Check out some musical improv:
- Baby Wants Candy [Fri 7PM Kate Murphy & Sun 5:30PM UCB], Vox Pop [Fri 9PM Hudson Guild], Dumpster Tequila, Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, Veal, Rebound! [Sat 11AM to 1PM Hudson Guild], Diamond Lion [Sat 5PM UCB], Hotel Principality [Sun 3PM Hudson Guild], iMusical [Sun 4PM UCB)].
- And North Coast will perform a hip-hopera [Sat 4:45AM Urban Stages].
- Doppelganger [Fri 6:30 UCB], The Amie and Kristen Show [Fri 7:30PM Hudson Guild], Sit Still [Fri 8PM Hudson Guild], Drysdale and Gausas [Fri 9PM UCB], Shmuckler Twins [Sat 7:45AM Urban Stages], 8 Girls Harold [Sat 9:45AM Urban Stages], ’92 Dream Team [Sat 3:15PM Urban Stages], Ness and Nance [Sat 10PM UCB], WiseSnatch [Sat 11:45PM Urban Stages], Bea Arthur [Sun 1PM Hudson Guild], The Katydids [Sun 4PM Hudson Guild]
You have to pay extra for each of these big-name shows in a larger venue at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but each is a sure thing, with the funniest, smartest, most talented performers around and names from SNL and 30 Rock and the Colbert Show.
- FIT 7th Ave. at 27th Street, Bldg. D. - Fri & Sat 7 to midnight
- FIT Haft Auditorium - Sun 8PM
A lot of improv is similar to other improv (especially in an all-longform festival).
Here’s a few shows with a unique take:
- The performers have to sit in chairs for The Chairmen [Fri 6:30PM Hudson Guild], stand in place for Nailed Down [Fri 8PM UCB], do the show backwards at Twik [Fri 11:45PM Urban Stages], and use only their voices in the dark for BIG BAT [Sat 1AM Hudson Guild].
- The show is inspired by your text messages at Last Day of School [Fri 11PM UCB] and Oregon Fail [Sat 2PM Hudson Guild], and by your embarrassing story at The Law Firm [Fri 11:30PM UCB] and Death By Roo Roo [Sat 9PM UCB].
- Audience members perform at Matt& [Sat 7:45PM Urban Stages] and Adsit and You [Sat 6PM UCB].
- It’s an elevator ride at Elevator Action [Fri 9:45PM Urban Stages], a rap battle at The BEATdown [Sat 1AM UCB], a telenovéla at Hispania [Sat 4:15PM Urban Stages], a fishing trip at Bassprov [Sat 7:30PM Hudson Guild], a movie at Rough Cut [Sun 1:45AM Urban Stages], a debate at The Master Debaters [Sun 11AM Hudson Guild], and improv with your iPod as the soundtrack at Mother [Sun 7PM Hudson Guild].