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The Chris Gethard Show Profiled in The Wall Street Journal

Mar 31, 2015

Scouring the City for a Laugh

Comedian Chris Gethard, right, welcomed rapper Diddy to his monthly show in January. Chris Gethard, a pale, compact man with the trusting face of a child, looked up from his laptop. 'This guy says he has a strong desire to be nude in front of people.' He leaned forward and began typing. 'Hi! Would you like to get naked tonight in front of 250 people? This is not a joke.'

Mr. Gethard, 31, was in the lobby of the 30th Street training center where he teaches comedy improv classes. As friends and students passed him, they asked, 'How's it going?' 'It's a train wreck,' he replied.

It was 4 p.m. on a Saturday-eight hours until showtime-and he had no material. 

The Chris Gethard Show
, billed as 'the most bizarre and often saddest talk show in New York City,' appears monthly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. 'The show is at midnight on a Saturday, a slot where most shows are lucky to sell 50 or 75 tickets,' said Shannon O'Neill, one of the Gethard Show's cast members and a former artistic director of the UCB Theatre. 'Chris's show sells out every time.' Nerdy and nihilistic, self-assured and self-loathing, the show is the fullest expression of Mr. Gethard's sensibility-to quote one of his recent Tweets, it's 'a 50/50 mix of heartwarming and violent.'

After 19 months at the Upright Citizens Brigade, the Chris Gethard Show is moving to public-access television. The finale 'episode' at the UCB will be staged on Saturday.

Mr. Gethard develops each episode around a different theme: He has hired professional wrestlers, blasted unfunny comics with paintball guns, and welcomed Diddy as a special guest. At the start of each performance, Mr. Gethard recites some variation of the 'Gethard Guarantee': 'We hope tonight's show is funny; but if it fails, it will fail so fantastically that it will still be entertaining.'

In March, he set a new challenge for himself: he'd build the show from scratch in a single day, using nothing but props and people found on Craigslist. It proved to be as difficult as it sounds. 'Male with very strong desire to be nude' corresponded enthusiastically all afternoon before disappearing without explanation. Negotiations with '34-year-old woman with breast milk to spare' stalled when she asked for $250. '5'10' Japanese-Caucasian dominatrix' was also out of the comedian's price range. Even the Free Stuff section yielded nothing.

But Craigslist is a nocturnal ecosystem. At around 7 p.m., things started looking up. Cast member Don Fanelli was dispatched to Roosevelt Island to pick up a box of old gardening magazines. Shannon O'Neill drove to Hell's Kitchen to meet a man named Tim whose ads offered dozens of excess belongings-cookbooks, Elmer's glue, a 'very used' pillow. 'This man clearly plans to murder me,' Ms. O'Neill said as she rang the buzzer. Tim turned out to be a gentle middle-aged man in basketball shorts. 'I simply can't bear to think of these things ending up in landfills,' he said. He handed Ms. O'Neill plastic bags containing a wireless router and a United Nations flag, and she invited him to be a guest on the show that night. 'Are you going to make a fool out of me?' he asked. 'Not at all,' she assured him.

Meanwhile, at the training center, Mr. Gethard had brokered a deal with an aspiring pastry chef: In exchange for a plug on Twitter, she would bake cupcakes for the audience. 'This show is turning out to be way more wholesome than I was expecting,' he said.

Mr. Gethard closed his laptop and began pacing around the training center, his arms cocked forward like a raptor's. 'OK, we have the cupcake lady, we have Tim, we have the magazines.' He stalked around the corner; when he came back, he had a show structure in mind. 'What if it's like Medieval Times?' he said, referring to the chain of dinner theaters where actors compete in mock battles. 'We could battle and win prizes for our section. The prizes are all this crap we got on Craigslist.'

The cast brainstormed possible contests, eventually settling on an eating contest, a breath-holding contest, and a challenge called 'Hulking Out,' which involved ripping off a T-shirt as fast as possible. A stage manager raced to Kmart to buy the shirts, plastic buckets for dunking the performers' heads, and a box of Twinkies.

In the green room at the UCB Theatre just before midnight, Mr. Gethard looked relaxed for the first time all day. Tim, freshly showered and wearing a button-down shirt, sipped a Heineken and peered into the theater as the seats filled up. 'This is not what I planned to be doing tonight,' he said, smiling.

Mr. Gethard took the stage to enthusiastic applause. 'We tried to find all kinds of dark s- to bring you guys tonight,' he told the crowd. 'But it turns out-and I never thought I'd say this-people on Craigslist are really good people.'
NY Shows

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Upright Citizens Brigade joins SiriusXM Radio

Mar 30, 2015

Upright Citizens Brigade Joins SiriusXM Radio

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater will start a weekly hourlong live radio show on SiriusXM Radio, that satellite radio company announced. "Live From UCB Theater" will record a different show each week at its theaters in New York and Los Angeles, showcasing the comedy troupe's usual mix of improv, sketch comedy and stand-up. The first episode will run at 11 p.m. on Saturday on the radio service's Raw Dog Comedy Channel. The partnership increases the potential audience for Upright Citizens Brigade performances from 245, the maximum number of seats sold at its two theaters combined, to 20.6 million, the reported number of SiriusXM subscribers. "This is just one step in our secret evil plan to take over the world! Oops," Amy Poehler, a founding member of the group, said in a statement. The initial shows will include "Totally J/K," hosted by Joe Mande and Noah Garfinkel; Waiting for Obama: A Night at the Hall of Presidents; and The Roast of Justin Bieber. "We were always told we had a face for radio," Ms. Poehler said. "We just never knew it would be satellite."
LA General

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Natasha Leggero to host Golden Trailer Awards; Jon Daly to write & present

Mar 30, 2015

Natasha Leggero Hosts 12th Annual Golden Trailer Awards. JetBlue, Porsche and Variety Host June 29 Gala in L.A. Feting Best Movie Promos.

Cowboys and space aliens battle robots and pirates for the Best Summer Blockbuster Trailer award, while for Best in Show, it's David v. Goliath in the eternal standoff between indies and majors. For the 12th year, at the Golden Trailer Awards, top talent will host and present the honors for the art and fun of movie promos.

As trailers for movies from mega-million blockbusters to tiny indies vie for honor, the fun-filled 12th Annual Golden Trailer Awards show will be hosted by Last Comic Standing judge, Natasha Leggero. Presenting trophies for the best movie promos are comedians Jon Daly (also head-writer for the show), Darren Carter, legendary voice-over actor Jim Cummings, actors Clancy Brown and Patrick Fabian and teen heartthrob Dylan Minette. The announcement was made by Golden Trailer Executive Director Evelyn Brady-Watters and Executive Producer Monica Brady, who also released the line-up of this year's sponsors, topped by JetBlue, Porsche and Variety.

Noteworthy nominees for 2011 include such titles as Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, documentary The Pat Tillman StoryThe Social NetworkCars 2 and The Hangover Part II. The full list is available on . Internationally recognized as the top honors in the field, The Golden Trailer Awards recognize achievement in the art of movie promotion. But the awards night also celebrates the sheer fun of trailers, one of the most popular forms of streaming video online, with billions of views each year. Sixteen of the 62 categories of Golden Trailer Awards will be distributed at the live show in a night of comedy and entertainment. The event is open to the public, with limited tickets still available for purchase on the website.


Returning as major sponsors this year are JetBlue and Porsche. For the first time, Variety has signed on as exclusive trade media sponsor, with additional sponsors including long-time supporter Steiner Studios, as well as National CineMedia, The Darling Agency, Rok!t, PRG, Position Music, Firstcom, and


Actress-comedian Natasha Leggero, this year's host, is best known for her frequent appearances on Chelsea Lately and as a judge on the 2010 season of Last Comic Standing. Among her many TV credits are spots on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and roles in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Sarah Silverman Program. She will be seen this fall in NBC's new series, Free Agents. Presenters are: Actor Clancy Brown (The Kurgan in Highlander, HBO's Carnivale); Comedian Darren Carter, who has been seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, and Showtime's Comics Without Borders; Emmy-winning voice-over actor Jim Cummings - named a Disney Legend in 2010, and the voice of Winnie the Pooh since 1988 - has hundreds of credits in television, movies and video-games (including Featherstone in Gnomeo and Juliet), and has been nominated for three Annie Awards for his work in animation; comedian and Golden Trailer Awards head writer Jon Daly, a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade whose credits include The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live; actor Patrick Fabian whose dozens of film, TV and stage credits include HBO's Big Love and The Last Exorcism; and Dylan Minnette, nominee for Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film for his role in the horror flick, Let Me In, whose recurring TV roles include Men of a Certain Age and Lost.
LA General

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