Where can the Upright Citizens Brigade go after playing Carnegie Hall?
Hollywood, apparently. The UCB4, as co-founders Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts are lovingly called by their students and improv comedy fans around the world, started performing ASSSSCAT in New York City in bars, former strip clubs, their own theater underneath a Gristedes supermarket, eventually graduating to bigger venues such as Irving Plaza, the F.I.T., and last year, Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom. On Thursday night, the UCB4 plus old friends from the very beginning in Chicago — iO and SNL alums Tina Fey, Horatio Sanz and Rachel Dratch — joined them onstage at Carnegie Hall.
They all dressed up for the occasion, with Fey delivering the guest monologues that inspired the improv scenes.
It served as both the kickoff to the 20th annual Del Close Marathon, as well as the beginning of a fond farewell for #DCM and #DCM20 to the Big Apple.
Over the past decade, more and more of UCB’s prized pupils followed the UCB4 out to Los Angeles, where they not only have opened two theaters, but also grabbed more substantial roles in many of your favorite and cult sitcoms and movies. Yep. They all went Hollywood. At first, the mass migration forced UCB organizers to move the marathon — which pays tribute to the UCB’s teacher, the late great Del Close, and celebrates improv around the world — from late August to late June to accommodate the shooting schedules of their sitcoms. Now 20 is a nice round number, and after Carnegie Hall, what’s left for them to prove in Manhattan?
The actual marathon part of DCM starts, per usual, with a bona fide if also informal “press conference” by the UCB4 on Friday afternoon at their home theater, which also is a new home in Hell’s Kitchen for them after many years 15 blocks south in Chelsea. After that, some 750 shows across 11 stages for three nights and two days, around-the-clock.
Among the many comedy stars coming home to roost for the long weekend: Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show), Owen Burke (Funny or Die), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!, Loosely Exactly Nicole), Jessica St. Clair (Veep, Playing House), Jon Daly (I’m Dying Up Here), Kate Dippold (screenwriter, Ghostbusters), John Gemberling (Broad City), Brian Huskey (People of Earth), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Nick Kroll (Kroll Show, Oh Hello!), Jason Mantzoukas (The League), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Adam Pally (Happy Endings, The Mindy Project), Lennon Parham (Playing House, Lady Dynamite), Natasha Rothwell (Insecure, Netflix’s The Characters), Paul Scheer (Fresh off the Boat, The League, Human Giant), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec, House of Lies), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley), and Sasheer Zamata (SNL).
If you want to attend the Del Close Marathon, you must either purchase a DCM Festival Pass or individual ticket(s) for premiums shows at All Stars Project or The Griffin at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Festival Passes grant access to all DCM theatres (space permitting) throughout the festival (Friday – Sunday), except to individual ticketed shows at All Stars Project and The Griffin at The Pershing Square Signature Center and ASSSSCAT at UCBT Hell’s Kitchen. Passes do allow you to standby for these shows.
Festival Passes for $45 available at the box office of DCM venues (see #DCM20 venues)
(photo above by @ryanchittaphong)