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NBC comes to the UCBT looking for talent

Mar 24, 2015

NBC tapping N.Y. Scene to Beef Up Comedy Rolls

NBC is strengthening its comedy talent roster, signing development deals with New York's popular Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Perrier-winning comedian Demetri Martin as well as little-known New Zealand folk parody duo Flight of the Conchords.

All three pacts were spearheaded by Lisa Leingang, who has re-upped her deal with NBC Universal TV to continue as New York-based producer in charge of developing programming and recruiting acting and writing talent on the East Coast and in Europe.

In her search for new faces and voices, Leingang works with NBC executive vp casting Marc Hirschfeld on the talent side and with NBC Uni TV co-presidents Angela Bromstad and David Kissinger on the writing side.

'She is totally tapped into the New York comedy scene,' Hirschfeld said of Leingang. 'She is an incredible resource, both on the writing and talent side, which a great combination.'

Since its launch in 1999, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, founded by the UCB troupe of Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, has grown into a major development playground for the hottest sketch, improv and stand-up comedians and comedic actors in New York -- both up-and-coming and established -- with more than 25 shows a week.

It was Hirschfeld who first recognized UCB's potential as a talent resource, and through Leingang's relationship with the theater's principals, NBC and UCB signed a one-year first-look deal. As part of the pact, UCB will pitch show ideas to all NBC Universal networks. (The company already has presented a concept to Bravo.) Additionally, UCB will hold a showcase for NBC executives this month, and some of the shows on its stage, which are considered TV-ready, would be filmed as presentations.

'They really curate the New York scene unbelievably well,' Leingang said of UCB. 'It's a constant flow of new fresh voices and performers, so it just seemed like the perfect opportunity.'

Martin, who last year became only the second American to win a Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, also has performed at the UCB Theatre, including his Perrier-winning one-man show, 'If I ... .'

Under his development deal, Martin will write and star in a single-camera half-hour project for the network inspired by his life in New York.

'He's got a really unique voice,' Hirschfeld said. 'He is very not your typical stand-up comic. He is very intellectual but at the same time, there is a real openness to him, too.'

Last season, Martin was a writer on NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien and was nominated for an Emmy as part of the show's writing team.

O'Brien's NBC Universal TV-based Conaco Prods. will produce Martin's show for NBC along with Leingang and the comedian's manager, Peter Principato.

As for Flight of the Conchords, NBC executives got a glimpse of the colorful New Zealand duo of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement at this year's Montreal Comedy Festival, two years after Leingang first spotted them in Edinburgh.

Leingang described the duo's act as 'a more low-key Tenacious D: Surreal, hilarious songs accompanied by hilarious stage banter.'

McKenzie and Clement are meeting with writers for a project to combine their talents as comedians and accomplished songwriters.

While music will be an important element of the show, 'it will be all based in character comedy, and that's what we love about them,' Hirschfeld said.
NY General

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UCBT's Rob Riggle Joins SNL Cast

Mar 24, 2015

UCBT's Rob Riggle, a member of Respecto Montalban, has joined the SNL cast this year.

The UCBT would like to congratulate Rob. Keep an eye on this kid, it don't cost nothing!
NY Classes

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Mar 24, 2015


The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is proud to present a very special pilot taping of ASSSSCAT. This performance features the four UCB members, Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, with special guest performers from shows such as Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

In 1996, The Upright Citizens Brigade began performing their Sunday night long-form improv show, ASSSSCAT, at various venues throughout New York City. The show became an instant hit selling out week after week. Join us for this soon to be legendary free performance of Automatic Sprinkler System Shutdown Siamese Connection Alternative Television.

Come enjoy a free evening of ASSSSSCAT!

Thursday Feb 24th
arrival at 6:15pm for the 7pm taping
arrival at 9:15pm for the 10pm taping
Free Admission
Ticket limit 4 per person.

Location: Chelsea Studios 221 W 26th St

Since this is a taping for television we must ask that all audience members are at least 18 years of age.
NY Classes

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