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Time Out New York Lists Shannon O'Neill As One to Watch in Comedy

Feb 27, 2015

Shannon O'Neill

After ten years performing sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Shannon O'Neill still doesn't play quite like anyone else. She's dark, aggressive and fearless; she'll never let the crowd feel bored-or entirely comfortable. "Even performing with her as long as I have, I'm never sure what she'll do," says Chris Gethard, a longtime collaborator who currently works with O'Neill, 33, in UCBT improv supergroup the Stepfathers. "She can say something so twisted the audience collectively decides it is not in the mood to handle it; she is completely unapologetic." 

Her new solo show, Prison Freaks, is the most exciting crystallization of her unique, occasionally difficult, point of view to date. The show is a cabaret of masked and mustachioed maximum-security prisoners in an institution-sanctioned talent show, performing stand-up or drawing caricatures, as a computerized warden tries to keep them from murdering the audience members. "I like going to a dark place but then being like, 'Hey, these guys aren't so bad,' " O'Neill explains.

Amid the blood and anal-rape jokes, her inmates are strangely approachable; one of them, a cyclops in an orange jumpsuit, busts out an endearing, high-energy dance number to Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga. "On the surface, is menacing and weird, but really the characters are very happy and optimistic," says director Will Hines. "That's what comedians are: We try to laugh things off, look for the silver lining," adds O'Neill. "So I put myself into these prisoners, but then I'm just doing what I always do as a comedian." O'Neill performs with the Stepfathers Fri 12 at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre; Prison Freaks takes place Mar 29. 

NY Shows

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pre-order "A Night of 140 Tweets" to benefit the Haitian School Initiative

Feb 27, 2015

Rich Sommer
Are you a fan of Ashton Kutcher, Will Ferrell, or Ben Stiller? Do you want to help Haiti? A Night of 140 Tweets: A Celebrity Tweetathon for Haiti is the world's first live tweet stream, featuring 140 celebrities reading their favorite tweets. Sponsored by Funny or Die,, and The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 100% of the proceeds go to Artists For Peace and Justice to benefit the Haitian School Initiative. Pre-order the DVD or the digital video exclusively from Finally, you can watch something funny and do something good, all at the same time. 

Ben Stiller, Ashton Kutcher, Will Ferrell have tweet reading for Haiti

Some of Hollywood's most enthusiastic social media fans -- including Ben Stiller, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Will Ferrell, Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Samantha Ronson and Diablo Cody -- got together to get their Tweet on Friday night in Hollywood.

At the Upright Citizens Brigade, the organization Artists for Peace and Justice hosted more than 160 people sharing their favorite tweets, twitpics and twitvids, with ticket sales benefiting earthquake victims in Haiti.

Demi showed her famous dentist visit photo captioned 'Keeping it real.' Kutcher offered a YouTube clip about the rise of Twitter and other networks called 'The New Dork (Entrepreneur State of Mind),' which name-drops him.

Stiller read his all-time favorite tweet, 'On a remote island vacationing, really enjoying dropping off the grid, totally disconnecting from the world.'

The comic-heavy crowd wasn't shy with their 140 characters, taking on popular targets like Precious actress Gabourey Sidibe and Justin Bieber.

Writer Cody sported a fake baby bump and, with a grimace, admitted '@justinbieber, you're the father.'

'Christian Bale lost 80 pounds to play The Machinist,' noted Justin Long. 'Big deal. Gabourey Sidibe lost 300 to play Precious.'

Rich Sommer, from AMC's Mad Men, stood and delivered his tweet completely in the nude -- the tweet not so coincidentally pertaining to a bad dream about speaking before a crowd in his birthday suit.

The reading was taped for future sale on iTunes and also featured live readings from The Hangover star Ed Helms; comedians Michael Ian Black, Jenny McCarthy and Dane Cook; Lost creator Damon Lindelof; Mary Lynn Rajskub, John Cho, Nia Vardalos, Dave Foley, Lake Bell, Busy Phillips, Al Yankovic, Wilmer Valderrama and MTV VJ Dave Holmes.

Rob Corddry, Questlove of the Roots and nerd pin-up Olivia Munn all sent twitvids in their absence.
LA Shows

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UCBT's Donald Glover in NY Times

Feb 27, 2015