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UCBT Performers Appearing at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal This Week

Feb 25, 2015

Every year, the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal showcases some of the best up-and-coming performers and shows from across the country. This week, many performers from the UCB stages in New York and Los Angeles will be performing at the festival. Including:

Children's Hospital

The cast of Children's Hospital, with Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel and more.

Donald Glover - Gross

Star of NBC's Community Donald Glover is doing a stand-up show that he thinks is probably too gross for a lot of people. But, there's only one way to know if it is. So here we go...

Jamie Kilstein - No God, No War, No Nickelback

Stand-up comic Jamie Kilstein's new hour-long rant about everything evil. Come see him criticize the war, American imperialism, defend gay rights, and talk about every other subject that has kept him off American television, forced him to sleep in his car, and locate gigs in remote parts of the world in order to buy luxuries, like food.

Mike Birbiglia - My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Groundbreaking comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia brings his all-new one man show to Just For Laughs, where he premiered his #1 off-Broadway hit Sleepwalk with Me just two years ago. Presented by Nathan Lane, Sleepwalk With Me was called "simply perfect" by The New York Times, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Circle Critics Award for Best Solo Performance. Mike's new show, which includes pieces he has performed on Public Radio International's This American Life, is a hilarious and uplifting show about the pain in finding out you're not her first choice, and that you might not even be her second choice.

Joe Mande - New Faces of Comedy

Today's hottest up-and-comers try to catch the eye of talent scouts and network executives in the most important sets of their lives. See tomorrow's stars today. Fresh, original & hilarious, come see the future faces of stardom.

James Adomian - New Faces of Comedy

Today's hottest up-and-comers try to catch the eye of talent scouts and network executives in the most important sets of their lives. See tomorrow's stars today. Fresh, original & hilarious, come see the future faces of stardom.

New Excitement - The Sketch Show

New Exc!tement is a showcase of skill, smarts, and razor-sharp timing that is an absolute must-see, especially for people looking for something new and exc!ting.

Sean & Dominic - The Sketch Show

Just For Laughs presents the best sketch comedy from around the world! In the tradition of Monty Python, SNL and Kids in the Hall, you'll see tightly-knit, slightly twisted scenarios dreamed up by the craziest casts of characters hitting the stage.

And you can check out more acts from the UCB Theatre on our special JFL stage!

For the second year in a row, the Upright Citizens Brigade calls Montreal home. Widely recognized for being the most relevant breeding ground of innovative, cutting-edge and high-quality improv and sketch, the UCB brings some of its best players North of the border. In one of the most unique JFL experiences, come catch comedy stars like Paul F. Tompkins (past host of VH1's Best Week Ever) paired with the UCB's freshest and most promising young performers for one hour each night at the intimate Theatre St. Catherine.
NY General

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Congratulations UCBT performers named Variety's 10 Comics to Watch

Feb 25, 2015

Variety announced its 10 Comics to Watch for 2010. Congratulations to honored UCBT performers Brett Gelman, Chris Gethard, Kyle Kinane, Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci (Garfunkel & Oates) and Chelsea Peretti.

10 Comics to Watch: Brett Gelman
How the character comic became Ferrell's fave

Brett Gelman brought his brand of comedy to Los Angeles in a roundabout way. After graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a degree in drama, the Chicago native migrated to Gotham to pursue a career on Broadway. Then he found the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Over the next eight years, Gelman flexed his comedic chops at UCB, bringing life to many of the characters he's known for today. His portrayal as one half of the rap duo Cracked Out was a viral hit, but it was his performance art parody "One Thousand Cats" that caught the eye of Funny or Die.

"Brett is on track to becoming one of the best in the biz. You can take that to the bank!" offers Will Ferrell, who insisted that "Cats" run unedited on HBO's "Funny or Die Presents" (where longer sketches are cut for TV).

With similar encouragement coming from Hollywood, Gelman decided to make the move west in 2008. He's been busy ever since.

This year he makes an appearance in the Adam McKay-helmed The Other Guys, and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer is writing a role for him in next year's 30 Minutes or Less. "I've been a fan of Brett's since Cracked Out," says Fleischer. "I'm excited to work with him."

And starting this fall, Gelman stars opposite Chris Elliott on one of Cartoon Network's forays into live-action programming with the comedy Eagleheart. But while film and television are calling, Gelman remains true to what got him there: He performs weekly at UCB with the improv group Death by Roo Roo and can be found making stars such as Elizabeth Banks and Ed Helms extremely uncomfortable in his series of "Mr. Celebrity" shorts for Funny or Die -- the kind of thing that could come back to haunt him as soon as fans start to recognize his face.

P.O.V. "When I was six years old, I saw Night at the Opera with the Marx Brothers," he reminisces. "I immediately thought, 'That's what I want to do with my life.' I've been obsessed with comedy ever since. But I didn't realize I was actually funny until about two months ago."
Influences: The Marx Brothers, Bill Murray, Gene Wilder
Represented by: CAA/Mosaic 

10 Comics to Watch: Chris Gethard
UCB storyteller lands in Comedy Central's Lake As a staple at Manhattan's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater for just over a decade, comedian and writer Chris Gethard (Weird New York) has taken auds to some far-out places -- sometimes literally.

"I put a video up on the Internet asking if anybody out there was depressed, because I dealt with depression when I was younger," admits Gethard. "I wound up flying a 19-year-old kid from Toledo to New York City, built a whole show around him and gave him the best night of his entire life."

The Rutgers grad says his goal is to give people something they may never see again, breaking down the fourth wall with such stunts as hosting a boxing match between untrained comedians and posting Facebook and Twitter requests for lists of personal crushes to later play matchmaker onstage.

Gethard gets deeply personal, too. For one stunt, he brought 60 people on a New Jersey bus tour to visit his old high-school sites, including the very basement where he lost his virginity. "I put myself in these situations where I'm trying to do a comedy show, but I wind up overwhelmed with emotion and crushed, and my audience is really enjoying watching that," he says.

The Comedy Central execs have been longtime fans, casting Gethard as the lead in Big Lake, a subversive take on the multicamera sitcom that was originally supposed to star Jon Heder. Going with a less recognizable lead was a risky move for the relatively big-budget Gary Sanchez production, but one that Comedy Central VP of talent JoAnn Grigioni stands behind.

"With Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell, we have star power, so we decided, 'Let's go for best person who fits the role,'?" she says.

P.O.V. "I bring an ability to convincingly say 'yes' to bad ideas, which is typical of my storytelling and a part of who I am," Gethard says of his Big Lake role. "I've always been able to rationalize doing dumb things, which has paid off in the long run with comedy."
Influences: His biggest comic obsession growing up was Andy Kaufman
Represented by: CAA/Brillstein

10 Comics to Watch: Garfunkel & Oates
Lindhome, Micucci's songs land them on Leno

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, of the comedy music duo Garfunkel and Oates, learned last year they had a new fan: Oates.

"He sent a MySpace message that read, 'I saw you're using my name. Luckily, I think you're funny, and you can use it if I get free beer at your shows. Wanna jam sometime?'" Lindhome recites.  And just like that, they're onstage with John Oates last July, Lindhome performing a striptease and Micucci trumpet soloing to "Maneater."

With Lindhome on guitar and Micucci playing her ukulele, the duo write comical songs, perform them from the couch and upload the webcam feed to the Internet.  It's all very DIY (Lindhome admits early footage is grainy because she was exporting the video all wrong), and topics range from the autobiographical to the downright silly, like "Pregnant Women Are Smug" and the Lost-inspired "Why Isn't There More Fucking on This Island?"

During their monthly live shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles, the group performs on a Mr. Rogers-style living room set, featuring storytelling and guest appearances from puppets.

The women are regulars on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and their brazen pro-gay rights tune "Sex With Ducks" went viral, getting play from many news outlets, including The O'Reilly Factor. In recent months, Garfunkel and Oates have beefed up their tour schedule, and they're shopping around a musical TV show, a la Flight of the Conchords.  "I had to get used to singing about subjects I wouldn't normally sing about," thanks to the increased exposure, Micucci says. The first time she dropped an F-bomb publicly, ever, was in the sweeter-than-it-sounds ballad "Fuck You."

But the girls embolden one another. They first hit it off four years ago in the UCB-LA lobby. ("We were both on bad dates," they say almost simultaneously.) In 2008, Lindhome invited Micucci to co-write songs for her short film "Imaginary Larry." They breezed through three in two hours and still make time, despite active solo acting careers -- Lindhome appears in the forthcoming "A Good Funeral," while Micucci and her ukulele recurred on Scrubs. 

10 Comics to Watch: Kyle Kinane
Confident alt comic earns Oswalt's blessing

After playing Just For Laughs' Chicago fest last June, Kyle Kinane embarked on a stand-up tour of his own creation: bars, record stores, possibly house parties. He drove his truck, and when there was no money for a hotel, he slept in it. He's played German singing halls, Burbank garages, downtown Los Angeles rooftops under construction lighting.

"Nothing is weird anymore," Kinane says. "Those shows are the most fun -- the people know what they're getting into."

There's no mystery to Kyle Kinane, no gimmick or unifying theme. His comedy is simply honest personal stories, often embarrassing, usually involving alcohol. Kinane's debut CD "Death of the Party," out earlier this year, covers soul-crushing jobs (selling cake decorations over the phone), brutal insomnia and discussion of why friends don't let him hold their kids.

"For someone as young as he is, he's way more comfortable than his peers at being himself," says Patton Oswalt, who's had Kinane open for him, off and on, for two years. "He's totally relaxed and not trying to prove anything."

Much of that started when Kinane lived in Chicago and fell in love with its comedy scene in 1999. "It was like the first time you hear music and think, 'This isn't like what's on the radio,'" recalls Kinane, who honed his voice and moved to L.A. in 2003. His casual cool demeanor remained (as did his epic beard).

"Now I gotta start caring," he jokes, "which is what didn't get me here in the first place."

P.O.V. "For the longest time, I would sit there and write 'jokes,' like they were a little puzzle. You need to know those rules before you can break them; you need to go to open mics for six years with crappy punchlines before you can just get up and talk about your day."
Influences: Chicago cohorts Dwayne Kennedy, Matt Braunger, Pete Holmes and Kumail Nanjiani
Represented by: Gersh

10 Comics to Watch: Chelsea Peretti
She's the writer everyone wants to work with

One of the biggest turning points in Chelsea Peretti's comedy career came during a blackout. "Not an alcoholic blackout," stresses the Oakland-born Barnard grad, who is a regular on TruTV's The Smoking Gun Presents, "a literal blackout. Someone had given me a Bill Hicks comedy CD, and I listened to it during a blackout in Brooklyn, and I remember thinking, 'I can talk about stuff that I really care about.'"

Like her love life, for example. Her cult hit web series All My Exes featured Peretti doing hard-hitting newsmag-style interviews with her exes, played by such stand-ins as Pras Michel from The Fugees and Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live. "In one episode, the guy gives me a painting of myself, and the painting we used was from a real ex-boyfriend," says Peretti, whose comedy style might be described as two parts sarcastic, one part silly. "I told him I used it, but he didn't comment. I guess he didn't think it was hilarious."

Peretti seems to be doing fine without him. She hosted Axe's Twisted Humor Tour for Funny or Die last spring. And Sarah Silverman, who did a guest set on "Variety Shac," the four-girl stage show-turned-TV pilot Peretti co-created at the Upright Citizens Brigade, was so impressed she offered Peretti a writing job on The Sarah Silverman Program. "That was probably the first time anyone I really looked up to was like, 'You're great,'" recalls Peretti. "I was very moved by that. I felt like, 'OK, even if audiences hate me, I'm going to keep going.'"

P.O.V. "When I have a really bad show, I think, 'I have no talent. What am I doing? I should move to a mountain community and be a florist,' but I'm sure that's completely cut-throat too."
Influences: Joan Rivers, Larry David, Tina Fey
Represented by: Paradigm/Parallel Entertainment
LA General

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Matt Walsh to direct improvised feature

Feb 25, 2015

Matt Walsh to take the 'High Road'

Upright Citizens Brigade co-founder to direct feature

If anyone knows how to fly by the seat of his pants, it's actor Matt Walsh.

One of the founders of the Chicago-based comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, Walsh will direct an improvised feature called "High Road" that he wrote with Josh Weiner. And he has recruited a raft of well-known comedians to star, including Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live), Rob Riggle (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart), Abby Elliott (SNL), Lizzy Caplan (Hot Tub Time Machine), Kyle Gass (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny) and Zach Woods (The Office).

The film follows a part-time weed dealer who goes on the run with a 16-year-old smartass after a drug deal goes bad. Joe Lo Truglio, Andrew Daly, Brandon Johnson, Seth Morris, Joe Nunez, Rich Fulcher and Dylan O'Brien also have joined the cast.

"After creating an improvised sitcom for Spike TV called Players, I wanted to try my skills at a longer format, and I am fortunate enough to know some of the funniest actors around," Walsh said.

Northern Lights Films is producing and financing the project, which began shooting this week. Jay Cohen, Gersh's head of film financing and packaging, is repping the project.

Walsh and Inman Young are producing with Northern Lights president Kirk Roos ("Stan's Cup"). The company's Erik Rommesmo and Jeff Schlossman serve as executive producers.

Repped by Gersh and Principato Young, Walsh recently appeared in Cyrus, The Hangover, Role Models and Step Brothers. He next has a role in Warner Bros.' November comedy Due Date. Walsh created, executive produces and stars in Players, which returns to Spike TV next week.
LA General

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