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See live tapings of Anthony Jeselnik's new Comedy Central show The Jeselnik Offensive

Mar 30, 2015

Anthony Jeselnik's new Comedy Central series, The Jeselnik Offensive, begins taping February 14. Click here to request free tickets to an upcoming live show. Series will premiere on Comedy Central Tuesday, February 19 at 10:30pm after Tosh.0.

The Jeselnik Offensive brings Anthony Jeselnik and his signature dark and twisted point-of-view to Comedy Central in a new weekly, topical series. Jeselnik, known for his blistering appearances on the recent Roasts of Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump, will unleash his razor-sharp take on each week's must-see "train wreck" news ripped from the headlines of Gawker, Reddit and the places we all troll for the darker, more shocking and lurid stories. Two panelists will join Jeselnik to further bash pop culture and gleefully rip the veil of sanctity from off-limit topics.

Scheduled panelists include UCBT performers Aziz Ansari, Doug Benson, Billy Eichner, Abby Elliott, Brett Gelman, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, TJ Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Jenny Slate and Jessica St. Clair plus Brian Posehn, Jeff Ross, Kristen Schaal, Amy Schumer and Reggie Watts.

LA General

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BlackBook reviews King of Kong: The Unauthorized Musical & Marie Lively: True Hustle "edgy and uncom

Mar 30, 2015

Los Angeles has never been known as a theater town, which is odd when you really consider how much acting, writing, and directing talent resides within its city limits. While film and theater are vastly different mediums, you'd think the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world would have more a stage presence. However, there's only a few, gleaming early 20th Century theaters like The Pantages-which hosts big Broadway exports on a seasonal basis-and a handful of small, independent establishments like Brimmer Street and the Pasadena Playhouse, locations that Angelenos really have to search out in order to see a show. With all the driving, parking, cramped seating and competition against all the modern movie theaters in town, it's no wonder stage is kept afloat primarily by dedicated thespians and couples trying to have a "unique" night out in LA. However, there is one notable exception: the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, located in the charming and bustling neighborhood known by locals as Franklin Village, the West Coast version of the UCB Theater in Chelsea.

Just as Second City and Groundlings launched the careers for many of comedic actors over the past 40 years who are now household names, UCB has become the newest, most popular kid on the improvisational block since a few of its founders are Amy Poehler and Matt Walsh, who currently rank among the small screen comedy elite. Just about every night the four-plus hours of improv shows and short comedic stage plays sell out with lines that stretch much of an L.A. block. While the improv shows can be hit or miss-as it's much like watching a professional sports team scrimmage-a new series of short, comedic one acts have really been taking UCB to the next level. One night last week, I caught a double bill of "King of Kong: The Musical"-which needs to be seen to be believed-and "True Hustle," the one-woman show about a fresh L.A. fish who lands a gig as a talent coordinator at a porn company. Both are edgy and uncompromising in their own unique ways.

"King of Kong: The Unauthorized Musical" follows the basic beats of the popular documentary sped up into a hyper-drive of hilarious musical numbers and was funny enough to draw out lawyers from the studio which owns the film. "True Hustle," starring Marie Lively and directed by Happy Endings and Community writer Annie Mebane, appears to be a bit of biography from Lively about her time employed at a major porn company run by a guy named Larry who works in a "Death Star" off Wilshire. You can make your own conclusions about that-though the one act is a hilarious, shocking and ultimately poignant take on a Hollywood dreamer who quickly comes of age from her place behind the scenes in the porn biz. It's rare to see such uncompromised, original works in a place like Hollywood, but for now you can on an almost night basis at the UCB. Assuming you can wrangle a seat.

LA Shows

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SXSW Comedy Spotlight: The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

Mar 30, 2015

SXSW Comedy Spotlight: The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Comedy

There are few institutions as deeply engrained in the modern comedy scene as The Upright Citizens Brigade, the bi-coastal network of theaters and training centers that began as a grassroots labor of love from co-founders Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. The starting point for countless comics currently starring in network comedies and box office hits, the UCB is a breeding ground for innovative, eclectic talent; its also known as a supportive community for fledgling and famed performers alike, a home for experimental acts to develop and for acclaimed shows to reach comedy-savvy crowds.

On Monday, March 11 at the Esther's Follies stage presented by TuneIn, The Upright Citizens Brigade is hosting two showcases spotlighting some of the theater's most talented improvisers and standups.

At 8:00pm, The Upright Citizens Brigade presents All Stars of Improv?, where regular performers from both the New York City and Los Angeles theaters come together to improvise an original, completely one-of-a-kind show. Whether you're improv obsessed or have yet to see the art form in action, there are few groups as masterful as the UCB's all star touring team, which includes Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock), Neil Casey (Saturday Night Live), Jon Gabrus (MTV), Chris Gethard (IFC, The Office), Dru Johnston (CollegeHumor), Shannon O'Neill (ASSSSCAT), Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), and Joe Wengert (Kroll Show). Not sure what to expect from an improvised show? Watch as performers tell stories (based on your suggestions) that inspire scenes so perfectly paced, you'll swear they were scripted.

And at 10:00pm, The Upright Citizens Brigade Standup Showcase is a sampler of some of the most exciting standups in the game today, including:

Jerrod Carmichael - A North Carolina native whose been taking the LA standup scene by storm, Carmichael was one of 2012's highest profile emerging comics; he also stars on forthcoming Fox series The Goodwin Games.

Chris Gethard - Host of cult hit The Chris Gethard Show and author of essay collection A Bad Idea I'm About To Do, Gethard has been a performer and teacher at UCB for over a decade; in addition to appearing on this season of The Office and at festivals including Bonnaroo and the SF Sketchfest, he's the current face of IFC's Adopt-A-Comic program.

Kyle Kinane - A regular face (and voice) on Comedy Central, Kinane's appeared on nearly every late night stage and on festivals across the world, and he recently released his second album, Whiskey Icarus.

Joe Wengert - Named a New Face of Comedy at Montreal's Just for Laughs 2012, Wengert is an accomplished standup and character actor who has written for Funny or Die, The Onion News Network, and Kroll Show.

That's not all the theater is involved with; here are some other UCB-related shows to check out at SXSW Comedy:

Sunday, March 10 at Esther's Follies: improv4humans Live Podcast Recording

Tuesday, March 12 at The IFC Crossroads House: The Upright Citizens Brigade presents: Stranger Than Fiction

Tuesday, March 12 at The IFC Crossroads House: The Chris Gethard Show

Check out the rest of the SXSW Comedy schedule.
NY General

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