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Madeline Rose

Of the very few rules of improvisational comedy, the first and most fundamental is, “don’t say no.” This was surely the case as the infamous Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company took the stage of the Kendall Cram Room Monday night. For the four comedians, who delivered jokes as naturally as the students’ subsequent laughter, nothing was off limits. The cast, consisting of Ben Rodgers, Gavin Speiller, Jon Garbus and Neil Casey, was anything but politically correct as they dropped jokes about male pregnancy, the University of New Orleans, fat girls, Hurricane Katrina and sexual predators – to name a few. For the UCB touring company and audience members this was not only acceptable, but enthusiastically encouraged.

The Upright Citizens Brigade began in 1996 when comedians Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh moved to New York from Chicago to begin the company. The idea was simple – live, candid, long form improv at a cheap price every night of the week. The shows consisted of long form improvisation, or, an unprepared performance that builds on itself in a series of scenes. The inspiration for the scenes came from live interviews, or words from audience members that could get the ball rolling.

Since it’s inception and subsequent opening in 1999, the Upright Citizens Brigade has become one of the most critically acclaimed comedy groups in the country, with theatres in both New York and Los Angeles as well as classes and obviously a touring company.

Prior to the performance, head of TUCP: Comedy, Henry Flynn, introduced the Upright Citizens Brigade saying, “When I think of them, I think potential.” This is introduction is perhaps the perfect way to describe the Upright Citizens Brigade, which has produced several notable alumnae including Andrew Daley, Rob Coddry and Scott Adsit.

Ultimately the Upright Citizens Brigade touring company so enjoyable, was not only the constant knee-slapping jokes, but the knowledge that you were watching a group of comedians in their most raw and candid form, who could, potentially, become the next face of American comedy.

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