The story of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and their practice of not paying performers has continued to get coverage. This week the New York Times covered the issue with this article in which they talk to comedians Chris Gethard, Matt Besser, and Nick Turner.
Writer/Comedian/Former editor of WitOut Luke Giordano wrote this excellent piece on the tendency he (and other artists) have to compare themselves to their peers and the relationship between success and hard work for his website Everything You Like is Stupid.
The new David Cross comedy It’s a Disaster has been released as a series of six-second clips via Vine as an experiment in social media marketing. The full film will be released through Video on Demand on March 5.
Anthony Jeselnik’s new Comedy Central show The Jeselnik Offensive, in which he and a panel of comedians joke about current events and pop culture topics, debuted this week. You can watch the first seven minutes of the episode online.
Comedian and Twitter darling Rob Delaney was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week. First, in a segment called “Old People Read Rob Delaney’s Tweets” and later performing a stand-up set.
Splitsider put together this list of 57 books every comedy fan must read.
Watch New York-based stand-up comedian (and frequent Philly performer) Mark Normand make his late-night television debut on Conan.
If you have a free hour, you can watch Dan Harmon talk about himself and his process in creating Community at CommuniCon.
I won’t lie – I’m a little worried at how much I agree with Bro Bible’s list of “13 Hilarious Movies that Prove Our Review System is Broken”.
Andy Samberg talks on Conan about one of his favorite unaired SNL sketches.
Zach Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns returned with its Oscar Buzz Edition (part one and part two). Joining Galifianakis in this episode is a star-studded group of Oscar nominees: Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Christoph Waltz, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Chastain, and Sally Field.
The UCB Theater in New York has announced some changes in their policies towards stand-up comedians in order to try to reach a compromise after the debate about paying performers.
Bill Burr was on Conan this week and shared his hilarious thoughts about Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong.
Huffington Post Comedy shared Philly’s own Doogie Horner’s Things to Say During Sex flowchart in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
The Laugh Button created this rundown of all the 2013 TV comedy pilots.
Watch Paul F. Tompkins and Maya Rudolph cover Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
The 200th episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast is available as a video to watch online.
The Chris Gethard Show is on a quest to climb to the top of the iTunes podcast charts.
Chris Gethard is also the subject of this week’s episode of Modern Comedian where he talks about what doing The Chris Gethard Show means to him.
Will Ferrell worked in character as an usher named Ted Vagina at a Laker’s game this week. Why? Apparently just for fun.
Splitsider put together this list of the 82 best comedies currently streaming on Netflix. Go ahead, waste some time!
Rolling Stone released their list of the 50 Funniest People Now placing Louis CK at number one.
The internet has been a hotbed of debate recently after Facebook posts from comedian Kurt Metzger criticized the UCB Theater for not paying performers on their weekend shows.
Matt Besser and Ian Roberts discuss how and why they started the UCB theatre in New York, the UCB philosophy, and the economics of the theatre in this bonus episode of the improv4humans podcast.
NBC has picked up a multi-camera sitcom from stand-up and Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney. Seth Meyers said it best via Twitter; this is “great news for people who like funny things.”
Huffington Post Comedy did some 30 Rock research to bring us Liz Lemon’s Life Lessons for Ladies.
Splitsider asked comedy bookers in New York and Los Angeles to help them rank the Top 10 Up-and-Coming Comedians on Each Coast (former Philadelphia comedian Josh Rabinowitz is listed at number eight in New York, congrats, Josh!)
The AV Club started their new series SketcHistory this week with a breakdown of “Dalai Lama” and “Monk Academy,” from Mr. Show’s season four episode “It’s Perfectly Understandishable”. The new series promises to “get the story behind some of our favorite comedy sketches from the people who made them.”
Have you ever wondered what some comedy superstars were doing when they hit the quarter-century mark? Splitsider compiled this list of 50 comedians at age 25.
Paul F. Tompkins has started to release clips from his live show at Largo on his website. The first features Maya Rudolph getting a visit from her future son.
This New York Times profile of Jerry Seinfeld is an excellent look into his process of meticulously writing and crafting his stand-up act.
If you have an hour to kill the Reserve Channel just released this interview with Saturday Night Live writers Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Chris Kelly, Marika Sawyer, Colin Jost, and Erik Kenward. It’s an hour-plus chat that digs deep into SNL‘s writing process.
Time Out New York named their best (and worst) comedy of the year.
The trailer for the upcoming end-of-the-world comedy This is the End was released last week. The movie, set for release in Summer 2013, will star Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel, and will feature appearances by Jason Segal, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Aziz Ansari, and more.
Entertainment Weekly named their five best stand-up albums from 2012.
UCB artistic director Nate Dern debunks “reality” TV romances by talking about his experience on Beauty and the Geek.
Huffington Post Comedy shared their picks for the Best Tumblrs of 2012.
Laughspin shared that a nearly 50-minute video chronicling the last few years of late comedian Patrice O’Neal’s career has surfaced.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (with some help from Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld) performed their own version of Abbott & Costello’s classic bit Who’s on First.
New York and Philly are close enough that any Philly-area comedy fans should head up for at least some of the Del Close Marathon
, started by the Upright Citizens Brigade
in honor of their mentor and celebrating its 13th year August 12-14.
The Del Close Marathon is the Woodstock of improv comedy—or the Lolapalooza or Bonnaroo or whatever fits your generation—a weekend of non-stop improv comedy from cities around the globe. Performers include names and faces you know, representation from funny-factories like Second City, UCB, iO, PHIT, etc., and college talent that will grace future improv stages (and commercials and rom-com best-friend roles). A $25 wristband gets you into more than 150 shows with some waiting in line.
Read more about the marathon and Del at www.delclosemarathon.com
.If you look at the full schedule, it can be a daunting task to figure out what to see, especially if this is your first time. It’s a hundred hours of performance on multiple stages.
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
If you want to see some fucked-up shit in the middle of the night, head to the main stage to see improv mixed with pro wreslting, rap, robots, game shows, beer, stand-up, Spanish, predator-catching, anime, communists, Christian fellowship, and more. How about a show that’s all walk-ons or all straightmen, or all Matthew McConaugheys? Stay up late for some weird, wild, 15-minute shows; it’s like live-action Adult Swim that gets beer and ball-sweat on you.
- UCB Theater – 307 West 26th St.
Fri-into-Sat and Sat-into-Sun midnight to 6AM
It’s a Small World Ride/EPCOT
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].
Electric Lady Land
Female improvisers can stand toe-to-toe with male improvisers, but here’s what to check out for some Ladies-Only improv:
- 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]
The aptly named Not-Included-in-Price-of-Admission-Land
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
And now for something at least slightly different
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].
* Shows at FIT and Haft Auditorium are not included in the wristband admission.
So head up to NYC to check out some comedy from around the world, from all kinds of performers in all different kinds of shows, all made up on the spot in front of you.