DEALS AND DISCOUNTS--Improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in Hollywood is always a fun night. Deals and Discounts contributors, Jennifer and I (photo above) caught the ASSSS Cat show at the Franklin campus last Sunday evening proving to be very entertaining and it is free!!! We laughed our asses off, ASSSS Cat. Oh wow, how clever.
The ASSSS Cat show, a staple of the UCB Improv stage for the past 15 years, plays every Sunday night at 7:00 pm. The show started with a UCB’s founding member and regular on Comedy Central, Matt Besser asking us Mad Lib questions. We discovered the audience were from all over: Melbourne, London, Vancouver, Little Rock, Nashville, Detroit and Calabasas. The topics thrown out ranged from robots, to mustaches, to ladies stretch pants. Pretty random.
After the warm up, Matt introduced the cast. With help from the audience, the monologist (the person who give the monologue) got started. “Give me a subject,” she declared. The first reply was “Prince”, and she took off with a story about the Purple One.
The monologist told of a time when she went with friends to a karaoke bar hoping to sing Prince songs. The Thai owner would not play the correct songs unless she was tipped otherwise they would be stuck with Shania Twain music. Incidentally, the bar was decorated in Thai tourism posters with a sexy underwear machine in a corner. Who knows if the story was actually true, but it was definitely entertaining nevertheless.
Now it was Improv time. The UCB cast created a seamless skit incorporating all the zany details of that far-fetched story. It was so fluid; you might have thought that the actors had spoken backstage or that they could read each other’s minds. They acted, sang, and danced spontaneously feeding off of each other’s energy and creativity.
The night consisted of two monologue/skit sets with the show totaling about an hour and a half of great entertainment.
Los Angeles is lucky enough to have two UCB campuses just a few miles from each other in Hollywood, one on Sunset Blvd. and other on Franklin Avenue offering over 50 shows per week, or about seven different shows a night. Most shows cost $5, a few select ones are $10, and, as previously mentioned, the ASSSS Cat show is free. For the paid shows you can reserve general seating tickets. I would strongly suggest visiting their website to check out the schedule. The “Search History” show develops a story around an audience member’s cellphone google search history. I happened to see it with an all-female cast, and it was hilarious. “Shitty Jobs”, revolving around crazy bosses and even crazier co-workers, is even more hilarious. Even if you see the same show twice, it is always different because the cast is never the same and the topics are inspired by the audience.
The founding group, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler, created Upright Citizens Brigade after working together at a comedy club in Chicago in 1998. They opened UCB in NYC in 2001, and Los Angeles in 2005. There are now four UCB locations, two in New York and two in Los Angeles. Over the years, the UCB has expanded with a first ever improvisational school, manuals, books and videos, and providing a forum for emerging amateur improv actors to develop their craft.
UCB Los Angeles has produced some really famous comedians that have gone on to headline television shows, stand-up comedy, and movies such as Aziz Ansari, Ed Helms, and Zach Woods.
Here is a tip: All UCB theatres have limited seating for less 100 people providing an intimate setting where the audience participates in the action. While that is a great thing, it is not good if you arrive late. We arrived at 6:45 pm for the 7 pm show. It was too late to get seating on the main floor, and we ended up on the balcony standing behind the last row. So get there early and enjoy a great show.
WHAT TO KNOW:
Check out general information for Upright Citizens Brigade:
5919 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood
UCB Sunset (location open since October 2014)
5419 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)