The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of UCB Musical Improv

If you’re into comedy, you must have heard of UCB. Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) is one of the most prominent comedy institutions worldwide, providing a platform for aspiring comedians since its establishment. But did you know that UCB also offers musical improv classes? Yes, you read that right. UCB Musical Improvisation performances are a treat for the eyes and ears.

UCB LA and UCB NYC have produced some of the most prolific improv and sketch comedians of our time, including Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, and Aziz Ansari, to name a few. The UCB Theatre has been home to some of the most groundbreaking comedy shows over the years. However, UCB’s past few years have been rocky, with the closure of its East Village location in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This blog post will provide you with a comprehensive guide to UCB Musical Improv, its history, its present, and its future. We’ll discuss the controversy that surrounded UCB in the past, the classes they offer, and what makes their musical improv performances unique. If you’re wondering whether UCB still exists or if it’s coming back to NYC, we’ll cover that too. Let’s dive in!

UCB Musical Improv: A Hilarious Fusion of Comedy and Music

Have you ever watched a musical performance and found yourself humming the tune for days afterward? What about an improv show that left you gasping for breath from laughing so hard? Now imagine combining the two into one amazing experience – that’s exactly what you get with UCB Musical Improv.

What Is UCB Musical Improv

UCB Musical Improv is a type of comedy performance where the actors spontaneously perform songs and scenes based on suggestions from the audience. The performers are not only talented comedians, but they are also musically gifted, creating catchy tunes and harmonies on the spot.

A Brief History

UCB Musical Improv originated at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which was founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts in 1999. The UCB Theatre has since become a popular venue for comedy performances, with locations in Los Angeles and New York City.

How It Works

During a UCB Musical Improv show, the audience shouts out suggestions of a location, a relationship, or a situation to inspire the performers. The actors then create a completely improvised musical, using their wit and musical prowess to come up with catchy songs and hilarious scenes.

The Benefits of UCB Musical Improv

UCB Musical Improv is not only entertaining but also beneficial for its performers. It helps develop creativity, confidence, and teamwork skills. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for the artists to showcase their musical talents while still making audiences laugh.

Why You Should See a UCB Musical Improv Show

UCB Musical Improv shows are perfect for anyone looking for a fun night out. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of musicals or a comedy lover, this type of performance offers a unique and unforgettable experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

UCB Musical Improv is a hilarious fusion of comedy and music that has taken the entertainment world by storm. From its humble beginnings at the UCB Theatre, it has evolved into a popular genre of comedy that’s both entertaining and rewarding for its performers. So, what are you waiting for? Grab some friends and check out a UCB Musical Improv show – you won’t be disappointed!

UCB LA: Your Gateway to Musical Improv

UCB LA is the ultimate one-stop-shop for anyone looking to sharpen their musical improv skills. The theater, which is located on Sunset Boulevard, has been home to some of the biggest names in comedy and improv, including Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and countless other luminaries of the genre.

The Classes

UCB LA offers a wide range of classes tailored to all experience levels. From beginners to seasoned veterans, the theater has a class for everyone. With instructors who are knowledgeable and supportive, you’re sure to find a course that suits your needs. Whether you want to polish up your singing voice or improve your comedic timing, UCB LA has got you covered.

The Shows

If you’re looking for a night of quality entertainment, look no further than UCB LA. The theater hosts shows every night of the week, featuring the best talent from around the city. From long-form improv to musical sketch comedy, there’s something for everyone.

The Community

One of the best things about UCB LA is the sense of community. The theater has a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and performers are encouraged to support one another. If you’re looking to make friends and connections in the entertainment industry, UCB LA is the perfect place to start.

UCB LA is the perfect place to hone your musical improv skills, catch a great show, and make new friends. With a supportive community and top-notch instructors, you can’t go wrong. So why not sign up for a class or catch a show tonight? You won’t regret it.

Exploring UCB NYC

If you’re interested in musical improv, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). The UCB is a prominent institution, providing comedy training and shows in Los Angeles and New York City. In this subsection, we’ll look at UCB NYC, one of the institution’s locations in the Big Apple.

UCB NYC: What is it and Why is it Important

UCB NYC opened its doors in 1999, and since then, it has become one of the most popular venues for comedy in New York City. The theater has hosted dozens of shows, including long-running hits such as “Asssscat” and “Harold Night.” Moreover, UCB NYC is instrumental in the growth and development of notable comedic talents, such as Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and Donald Glover.


UCB NYC hosts several shows, including sketch comedy, improv, and stand-up. Here are some of the most popular shows to check out:

  • Asssscat 3000 is one of the longest-running shows in UCB’s history and features top improvisers on its stage.
  • Harold Night is the institution’s oldest and most celebrated show, showcasing some of the brightest talents in the comedy industry.
  • The Law Firm is a weekly showcase in which comedians present cases in front of a judge and jury.

UCB NYC: Comedy Training

Apart from its shows, UCB NYC also offers training programs for aspiring comedians. The institution’s improv program is among the best in the business, providing students with the skills they need to create a memorable show. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level performer, UCB NYC has a class that caters to your skills.

In summary, UCB NYC is one of the most critical comedy venues in New York City. Its shows, training programs, and alumni underscore its importance in the industry. Whether you’re a fan of musical improv or stand-up comedy, there’s something for everyone at UCB NYC. Make sure to check out a show or enroll in a class if you’re in the city, as they offer an unforgettable comedy experience.

UCB Alumni

ucb musical improv

UCB, also known as Upright Citizens Brigade, is a comedy school and theater based in New York and LA. UCB is famous for teaching improv and sketch comedy to aspiring comedians, and many of its alumni have gone on to become significantly famous. Here are some notable UCB alumni who have made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry:

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is a co-founder of the Upright Citizen Brigade Theater and has trained improvisers under her tutelage. She’s also a professional comedian and actress. She’s starred in various comedies throughout her career, but her most recognizable role is the character of Leslie Knope in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

Donald Glover

Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, is another famous UCB alumni. He started his career by performing sketch comedy at UCB in New York before moving to the TV industry. He performed in the sketch group ‘Derrick Comedy’ before getting his break in the TV series “Community.”

Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon is a current cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and another alum of UCB. Her training in improv at UCB has certainly helped her in her comedic career. McKinnon has performed in various movies, television shows, and sketches, and her impersonations have garnered her considerable fame.

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is another UCB alumni who has gone on to great heights in the entertainment industry. After his training at UCB, he became a regular performer on MTV’s “Human Giant” and eventually moved on to write and star in his own TV series, “Master of None” on Netflix.

Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are the creators and stars of the smash hit web series and TV show “Broad City.” The two met as students at UCB and took classes together before starting their partnership in comedy.

With UCB having a strict acceptance process, those who make it through are often destined for comedic success. This proves to be the case with the comedians mentioned above and so many more UCB alumni who have gone on to make us laugh every day.

The Comedy Side of UCB Musical Improv

UCB is well-known for its musical improv shows, but that’s not the only thing the renowned comedy company has to offer. The UCB Theatre in New York and Los Angeles are well-known for their improv and sketch comedy shows that have been entertaining audiences for years.

Improvisation Comedy

At the heart of UCB is improv comedy. The UCB improv teams perform long-form improvisation shows that are entirely made up on the spot. With no preconceived ideas or scripts to follow, each performance is unique and unpredictable.

The UCB Theatre also offers classes in improvisation, which range from beginner level to advanced. These classes are open to anyone interested in learning the art of improv comedy.

Sketch Comedy

In addition to improv shows, UCB also produces sketch comedy shows. These shows are scripted and rehearsed, but the humor is still spontaneous and surreal. The sketch teams perform regularly at the UCB Theatre, and their shows are often sold out.

The UCB Comedy Podcast

If you can’t make it to the UCB Theatre for one of their live shows, you can still enjoy their performances with the UCB Comedy Podcast. The podcast features highlights from UCB’s improv and sketch shows, interviews with comedians, and behind-the-scenes looks at what goes on at UCB.

As much as musical improv is an essential part of UCB’s identity, their offerings extend beyond that. The company’s commitment to comedy extends to improv classes and performances, sketch comedy shows, and podcasts. With something for everyone, UCB has become a go-to destination for those who love to laugh.

ucb theatre

UCB Theatre is an iconic institution in the world of comedy. Founded in 1999 in New York City by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, UCB stands for Upright Citizens Brigade. The theatre has since expanded to three locations in Los Angeles and one in New York City.

What is UCB Theatre

UCB Theatre is a place where comedians come to hone their craft. It is a place where improvisers improvise, sketch groups perform sketch comedy, and stand-up comedians perform stand-up. The theatre is also a training center, where comedians can take classes in improv, sketch comedy, and writing.

The UCB Theatre Community

The UCB Theatre has a strong community of comedians and fans. The theatre has produced countless successful comedians, including Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Donald Glover, Ellie Kemper, and many others. The theatre also hosts regular shows and events, such as ASSSSCAT, a popular improv show, and Sketch Cram, where sketch groups write and perform a new sketch show in just 24 hours.

How to Attend a UCB Theatre Show

ucb musical improv

Attending a UCB show is easy! First, visit the theatre’s website to see the show schedule and purchase tickets. Most shows are held in the evenings and on weekends. Prices vary depending on the show and the location, but generally range from $10 to $20 per ticket. It is important to note that tickets for popular shows sell out fast, so it is best to purchase them in advance.

UCB Theatre is a vibrant, exciting place where comedians come to learn, perform, and grow. Whether you are a seasoned comedy fan or just looking for a fun night out, there is something for everyone at UCB. So why not check out a show and see what all the fuss is about?

Is UCB All Ages

If you’re a parent planning to introduce your kids to the world of musical improv, you might be wondering if UCB is appropriate for all ages. The answer is yes! Even though UCB’s shows tend to have a mature audience, they do offer shows that are appropriate for people of all ages, including children.

Family-Friendly Shows

UCB hosts a variety of family-friendly shows, such as “The Curfew: Not From Around Here” or “The Magic Show.” These shows feature suggestions and participation from the audience and are designed to be appropriate for all ages. The performers are skilled at keeping the material lighthearted and clean while still delivering a hilarious and engaging performance.

UCB Academy

If your child is interested in learning more about musical improv, UCB Academy offers classes for people of all ages. Their classes are perfect for introducing kids to the concepts of improvisation. Children can learn to become more confident, improve their communication skills, and have fun while doing so.

UCB might have a reputation for edgy humor, but they are not exclusively an adult venue. They host shows that are appropriate for kids and families and offer classes to teach children the art of improvisation. It’s just a matter of looking for the right show or class that suits your family’s needs.

So if you’re looking for a fun and engaging way to introduce your kids to the world of musical improv, UCB is a great place to start. Don’t be afraid to bring the whole family along, as there is something for everyone at UCB.

ucb musical improv

Why Did UCB Close

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, commonly referred to as UCB, was a comedy institution that helped shape the careers of many of today’s top comedians. However, on April 21, 2020, UCB announced that it was closing its physical locations in New York and Los Angeles due to financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused mass shutdowns throughout the country, including all live entertainment venues. UCB, a theatre that primarily relied on ticket sales and revenue from classes and training programs, struggled to stay afloat as it was unable to operate as normal. Despite efforts to transfer classes and shows online, UCB ultimately could not withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

UCB’s Financial Struggles Prior to Closure

While the pandemic was the final straw for UCB, the theatre had been struggling financially for years. In addition to the high cost of maintaining locations in both New York and Los Angeles, UCB also faced criticism for underpaying performers and staff. Many performers who trained at UCB left to pursue better pay and opportunities elsewhere.

ucb musical improv

UCB’s Legacy

Despite its financial struggles and eventual closure, UCB has left a lasting impact on the comedy world. The theatre’s philosophy of “yes, and” has become a cornerstone of improvisational comedy, and many successful comedians, including Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and Donald Glover, have credited UCB for launching their careers.

While the physical locations may be closed, UCB’s legacy lives on through its alumni and the countless performers who continue to practice their craft in the spirit of the institution’s teachings.

UCB Improv Classes

If you want to take your comedy skills to the next level, UCB Improv classes are the perfect way to achieve this. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has been a Mecca for comedians for more than 25 years, and their improv classes are second to none. Here’s all you need to know:

Why take UCB Improv Classes

UCB’s improv classes are perfect for anyone looking to improve their comedy skills. Whether you’re an aspiring comedian with no prior experience, or an experienced performer looking to sharpen your skills, UCB’s classes can help you improve your character work, scene work, and overall performance skills.

What do UCB Improv Classes entail

UCB’s improv classes aim to teach students the essential skills needed to perform improv comedy. The classes are taught by experienced UCB performers, and they are designed to be fun, engaging, and informative. Students learn how to develop believable characters, how to create and sustain funny scenes, and how to connect with their scene partners.

Who can take UCB Improv Classes

UCB Improv classes are open to anyone with a desire to learn and improve their performance skills. While previous performance experience is not required, a willingness to commit and learn is essential. UCB prides itself on creating a supportive and inclusive community, and they welcome students from all backgrounds and experience levels.

When are UCB Improv Classes held

UCB offers classes throughout the year, with new classes beginning every few months. Classes typically meet once a week for three hours, and the curriculum is spread out over eight weeks. Classes are held in the early evenings during the week and during the day on weekends.

Overall, UCB Improv classes are the perfect way to develop your comedy skills and take your performances to the next level. The classes are open to anyone with a willingness to learn and a commitment to the process. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for UCB Improv classes today and start your journey to becoming the funniest person in the room!

Does UCB Still Exist

UCB (Upright Citizen Brigade) is a popular improvisational and sketch comedy theater that was founded in New York City in 1996. It quickly gained popularity and opened a new branch in Los Angeles in 2005. However, people have been asking if UCB still exists due to various controversies and changes in recent years.

What Happened to UCB

UCB has been facing financial difficulties in recent years, which led to layoffs and the closure of its Chelsea theater in New York City. Additionally, the theater faced criticism for its lack of diversity and representation. These factors contributed to the perception that UCB was struggling and may not be as relevant as it once was.

UCB’s Current State

Despite these challenges, UCB still exists as a comedy theater with various shows and classes offered in New York and Los Angeles. The theater has also made efforts to address its diversity issues by implementing new policies and initiatives.

While UCB may not have the same level of popularity as it did in the past, it still holds a significant place in the comedy world and continues to draw audiences and students alike.

In summary, UCB still exists as a comedy theater in both New York and Los Angeles. While it has faced financial difficulties and criticism for its lack of diversity, the theater is still operating and making efforts to improve. UCB’s existence may not be as prominent as it once was, but it remains a significant player in the comedy world.

UCB Musical Improvisation: The Art of Making Music in the Moment

UCB Musical Improv is a form of improvisational comedy that involves creating songs on the spot. It is a highly entertaining and challenging art form that requires a lot of creativity, teamwork, and musical ability. In this section, we’ll explore the basics of UCB Musical Improvisation and how it works.

What is UCB Musical Improv

UCB Musical Improv is a form of improvisational comedy that involves creating songs, lyrics, and music on the spot. It’s like putting on a mini Broadway show in front of a live audience, but with no script or pre-planned musical numbers. The performers take suggestions from the audience to create a completely unique and original musical in real-time.

The Role of Music in UCB Musical Improvisation

Music is a crucial element of UCB Musical Improv. It’s not just about singing; it’s about creating a complete musical experience. The performers need to be able to sing, dance, and play instruments (if they have them) to bring the show to life. Music helps to enhance the comedic moments, create emotions, and move the story forward. The performers need to be able to think musically and be able to improvise their lyrics and melodies.

The Structure of UCB Musical Improv

The structure of UCB Musical Improv varies depending on the show and performers. However, most UCB Musical Improv shows consist of a series of scenes, each with their own musical number. The performers will usually take suggestions from the audience to create the scenes and songs. The show may also include a musical opening number and closing number to tie everything together.

The Importance of Teamwork in UCB Musical Improv

UCB Musical Improv is not a solo art form. It requires strong teamwork and collaboration among the performers. The performers need to be able to work together to create a cohesive story and musical experience. They need to be able to support each other’s ideas, take risks, and trust their instincts. The team needs to be able to communicate non-verbally and be able to make split-second decisions to keep the show moving forward.

UCB Musical Improvisation is a fun, challenging, and highly entertaining art form. It requires a lot of creativity, teamwork, and musical ability to create a completely unique and original musical experience on the spot. The performers need to be able to think musically, improvise lyrics and melodies, and work together to create a cohesive story. If you’re a fan of musical theater, comedy, and improv, then you’ll love UCB Musical Improv.

Is UCB Returning to NYC

As an avid fan of UCB musical improv, you might be wondering whether the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is coming back to New York City. Well, the answer depends on what exactly you mean by “coming back.”

UCB Theatre in NYC

For starters, it’s worth noting that the original UCB Theatre in New York City closed its doors permanently in April 2020, after over 20 years of operation. This closure was due in large part to financial difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. So in the sense of returning to its previous physical location, no, UCB is not coming back to NYC.

UCB Improv Shows in NYC

However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any UCB improv shows in the city going forward. In fact, UCB had already begun branching out to other venues in NYC before the pandemic hit. They’ve held shows at places like SubCulture, Caveat, and Littlefield, among others. These shows have featured both established UCB performers and up-and-comers.

UCB Online

Of course, with the pandemic still ongoing in many parts of the world, live shows are still not entirely back to normal. But fear not: UCB has also taken its performances online. The theatre now offers a variety of livestreamed shows, ranging from improv to sketch comedy to storytelling. These shows feature performers from all over, not just NYC.

While the closure of the original UCB Theatre in NYC was certainly a blow to both the performers and fans who called it home, it’s not the end of the road for UCB in the city. Whether you prefer in-person shows or online performances, there are still plenty of ways to get your fix of UCB musical improv – and who knows, maybe one day they’ll even return to a physical location in the city.

Upright Citizens Brigade Controversy

The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) is a comedy theatre and training center that was founded in 1999 by Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, and Matt Besser. Since its inception, the UCB has been known for its improv and sketch comedy shows, as well as its training program that has produced several successful comedians.

However, the UCB has not been without controversy. In recent years, there have been accusations of the UCB being a toxic and unwelcoming environment for women and people of color.

Allegations of Racism

Some former UCB performers have accused the theater of being a racist environment. They claim that people of color are not given enough opportunities to perform, and when they do, they are often pigeonholed into stereotypical roles. Additionally, some have claimed that the UCB leadership does not do enough to address racism when it occurs.

In 2016, a group of black UCB students formed a collective called “The Blackout” to highlight these issues. They issued a list of demands to the UCB leadership, which included better representation of people of color in shows and workshops, as well as sensitivity training for performers and staff.

Controversial Policies

In addition to accusations of racism, the UCB has also come under fire for some of its policies. For example, the theater has been criticized for not paying performers for their shows, workshops, or classes, despite charging high fees for these services.

Furthermore, the UCB’s policy of “heightening” — where performers are encouraged to take an initial joke or premise and continue to push it to an extreme — has drawn criticism for normalizing offensive or hurtful content.

Response from UCB

The UCB has responded to these accusations and controversies by implementing some changes. In 2016, the theater announced a diversity initiative that aimed to increase representation of women and people of color in shows, workshops, and classes.

Additionally, the UCB has revised its policies to ensure that performers are compensated for their work. They have also implemented a code of conduct for performers, staff, and audience members to promote a safe and welcoming environment.

Despite these efforts, some former performers and students feel that the UCB has not done enough to address these issues and create a truly inclusive environment.

The UCB has been a major player in the comedy scene for over two decades. However, the theater has not been immune to controversy. Allegations of racism and controversial policies have led to criticism from former performers and students.

While the UCB has taken steps to address these issues, some feel that more needs to be done to create a truly diverse and inclusive environment. It remains to be seen how the UCB will continue to evolve and address these challenges in the future.

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