Upright Citizens Brigade

The Upright Citizens Brigade is an improvisational comedy and sketch comedy group that emerged from Chicago's ImprovOlympic. The current incarnation consists of Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser and Matt Walsh. Other original members were Ali Farrhanakian, Adam McKay (former head writer for Saturday Night Live) and Horatio Sanz.

In 1996, the Upright Citizens Brigade relocated to New York and began performing shows and offering improv training at Solo Arts Group. These shows and classes were so popular that the UCB were able to open their own theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, in Chelsea on February 4, 1999, in a former strip club. On April 1, 2003, they moved to a new space on W. 26th Street.

The group had a TV series dedicated to their sketch comedy on Comedy Central that aired for three seasons from 1998 to 2000. Each season contained 10 episodes, which included sketches inspired by their live shows and new material. What made the series stand out as a sketch show was that every episode had a central theme that would all be tied together in some way by the end. Additionally, episodes in each season would make reference to a fictitious element within the show's world and would culminate in a season finale that would be centred around this. The show also stayed away from overused staples of sketch shows by never doing parodies and celebrity impersonations, and the four main actors never appeared as themselves but rather as the characters of Adair (Besser), Colby (Poehler), Antoine (Roberts), and Trotter (Walsh). The overall plot of the show was that these four made up an underground organization "with no government ties and unlimited resources" dedicated to creating and monitoring chaos where they would watch it all from a secure location underground. In the Season 2 finale, the FBI invaded their lair as part of a raid to find a Supercool smuggling ring. Because of this, in the third and final season, the UCB had set up operation in a bakery delivery truck. The characters themselves also had less of a presence in the episodes, mostly only being shown quickly between scenes.

The show was not renewed by Comedy Central after the third season, and its players have since moved on to other projects, including performances at the UCB theater in New York City. Both Pohler and Sanz went on to perform on Saturday Night Live. Comedy Central released a DVD containing the episodes of the first season in 2003.

Comedy Central show episodes

  • Season 1
    • 101: The Bucket of Truth
    • 102: Poo Stick
    • 103: Saigon Suicide Show
    • 104: Power Marketing
    • 105: Children's Revolution
    • 106: The Story of the Toad
    • 107: The Lady of the Lake
    • 108: Time Machine
    • 109: Cyborgs
    • 110: The Little Donnie Foundation
  • Season 2
    • 201: Competition (Master Dialectitian)
    • 202: Crime (Bomb Squad)
    • 203: Throwing Stars (Mogomra Fart Monster)
    • 204: Real World
    • 205: Anger Management (Eli's Face Therapy)
    • 206: Friars
    • 207: Spirituality (Spaghetti Jesus)
    • 208: Big City
    • 209: Hurricane
    • 210: Supercool
  • Season 3
    • 301: Costume
    • 302: Mafia
    • 303: Hospital
    • 304: Band
    • 305: Eating
    • 306: College
    • 307: Sex
    • 308: Small Town
    • 309: Technology
    • 310: Pro Thunderball

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