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WINNERS! Congratulations to the US Comedy Arts Festival Award Winners from the UCB Theatre

Mar 18, 2015

Dan Eckman
The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO was held this week with many performers from the UCB Theatres in NY and LA performing.

Awards were handed out on Saturday for Best of the Festival. We're proud to announce the following winners from the UCB Theatre:

BEST COLLEGE COMEDY SHORT FILM: Dan Eckman & Dominic Dierkes - Checkout

BEST SKETCH: The Whitest Kids You Know

BREAKOUT AWARD: Eliza Coupe - The Patriots

BEST STAND-UP: Aziz Ansari (tied with Mitch Fatel)
NY General

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WE USED TO GO OUT Reviewed by OffOffOnline

Mar 18, 2015

Anatomy of a Breakup
We Used to Go Out Reviewed

Everyone wants what he or she cannot have, especially when it comes to love. Single men and women, eager to find lasting love, envy friends in relationships. But these same friends in relationships oftentimes covet the freedom and unpredictability of being single, particularly when their love begins to sour.

When it comes down to it, being in love can be terrible, and being alone can be worse. At least in the hands of Jason Mantzoukas and Jessica St. Clair, a comedy team described by some as a modern-day Gracie Allen and George Burns or Elaine May and Mike Nichols, the miserable underbelly of love also proves hilarious.

The duo, whose last show, I Will Not Apologize, was featured at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, has teamed up once again for We Used to Go Out at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The result is a laugh-out-loud look at the breakdown of a relationship.

Playing themselves in a Curb Your Enthusiasm sort of way, Jason and Jessica are a couple on the brink of a breakup. We Used to Go Out focuses on that time when both parties know it is over but stay together anyway because, well, it is the evil you know versus the evil you do not know. From spicing it up a bit (with a lesbian couple Jason finds on the Internet) to learning how to please your man properly (let's just say there is flicking and clapping-Jessica's 'signature move'-involved), the show is an unapologetically vulgar look at the lengths people take to make everything O.K.

But the many attempts to save their relationship fail, and Jessica and Jason do end their relationship over a nasty exchange of answering-machine messages. But as bad as they thought their love life was, single life proves to be even more pitiful. Jason, wearing three-week-old sweatpants (Jessica threw his clothes out on the street, and most were taken by a homeless man), comes crawling back to her, only to find out she has fallen for a ne'er-do-well named Scooter, also played by Mantzoukas. To Jason, this is not a name but 'a mode of transportation,' which only adds insult to injury.

This show is nothing new-anyone who has been through a painful breakup, or has endured being single after a painful breakup, can relate, and yet it feels entirely fresh. Mantzoukas and St. Clair have a chemistry, even during their most off-color moments, that most real couples would envy. They are bold and wonderful comics who take ordinary and rather depressing material and repackage it in a totally spontaneous way.

Mantzoukas's charming nature and quick wit are very appealing. And considering the way things end up for Jason, women who have trouble separating the character from the actor will surely want to help heal his wounds. He plays not only Jason and Scooter but also Peggy, Jessica's rather manly best friend, and he could easily steal the show from a lesser stage presence. But St. Clair holds her own. Even at her most vulgar, she draws empathy and speaks to the confused woman inside many of us. She also bares a striking resemblance to Rachel McAdams, which makes a surprising scene involving, of all things, the movie The Notebook (in which McAdams starred) all the more hilarious.

We Used to Go Out is 50 minutes and $5 well spent. No matter how bad your love life might be, you will leave realizing that it could always be a lot worse, which, to my mind, is priceless.

NY Shows

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Rebecca Drysdale Reviewed in TIME MAGAZINE

Mar 18, 2015

The Naked Truth
Bat Mitzvah Girl

She stands nervously in front of a lectern, adopting the rote singsong of a 13-year-old giving her Bat Mitzvah speech. She thanks the rabbi and the relatives who came from Florida, Australia and 'all the way from Century Village.' She praises a Jewish upbringing that on holidays 'gave me the opportunity to dress like a doily and sit in the corner in silent anger while the rest of my family discusses in a whisper whether or not I'm a lesbian.' Rebecca Drysdale, it so happens, is gay (and does a nifty Dr. Seuss parody about how the butch and the femme lesbians learned to get along), but she resists the label some have tried to stamp on her. 'That puts something first, besides funny,' she says. 'My show's about a hundred other things.' Like, oh, AIDS and Hurricane Katrina--for which she devises cheery mock-folk songs--and Brokeback Mountain, which she turns into a video game.

Drysdale, 27--who spent her grade-school years in Versailles and Vancouver, B.C., and dropped out of Sarah Lawrence to sell T shirts at Chicago's Second City (before joining the troupe)--is that rarity in the tired-out world of stand-up comedy: a real original. A hit at the 2005 Aspen Comedy Festival, she doesn't do traditional monologues, yet her parodies and character pieces are not (like a lot of Whoopi clones) so much about showing off her performing virtuosity as opening a window into her alienated soul. Giving an account in court of a near rape, she describes being followed down a street by a man, panicking when she realizes the only self-defense she knows is origami, then asking the guy out dancing. At the end of her new show at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City, she strips totally naked and mimes her entire preshow shower ritual to the strains of Helen Reddy's Candle on the Water. 'If I start writing something that smacks of something I've done before, I'll scrap it,' she says. 'If it doesn't surprise me, I'm bored with it.' Rebecca Drysdale surprises.

REBECCA DRYSDALE: One Woman In Several Pieces

Friday Nights @ 8:00pm

NY Shows

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