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Adsit & Gausas Reviewed in Time Out NY

Mar 7, 2015

Seriously Funny


Adsit & Gausas put the theater back in improv.


CALLING CARD Gausas and Adsit, from left, put their signature on improv.

Toward the end of a recent improvised performance of Adsit & Gausas, Scott Adsit and Christina Gausas circled each other onstage. Their characters-a suicidal photographer and his twin brother's ex-wife-argued heatedly over whether a large cake made in the shape of a cupcake is, by definition, a cake or a large cupcake. Naturally, the baked good was a metaphor for a greater existential issue. Neither would bend; the argument escalated. Then, as the ex-wife passed through the kitchen on her circular warpath, she unsheathed a butcher knife from its wooden block and pointed it at the photographer-and a woman in the audience loudly gasped.

Of course, all that really happened was this: Gausas grabbed at thin air and made a fist in front of her chest. Yet this woman, seated at stage left, reacted so viscerally that it was audible to the rest of the theater. This is high-stakes improv.

And that doesn't make it is less funny; rather, it has the opposite effect. Comedy, after all, is the release of tension. Seconds later, Adsit made a similar move; Gausas asked with a taunting sneer, 'What do you plan to do with that?' and Adsit responded, 'I'm going to shove this whisk down your throat.' The audience erupted in laughter and that woman, one assumes, released the grip on her boyfriend's arm.

Adsit, who also stars in 30 Rock as Pete Hornberger, the beleaguered executive producer of TGS, and Gausas, who's guested on 30 Rock, Conan and a handful of other shows, are two of the most talented improvisers in New York. They're also two of the most seasoned, which is to say they're from Chicago; Gotham's long-form scene is adolescent in comparison. The two-person format really allows their sophisticated styles to shine.

'When there's a big group of very clever people onstage, that cleverness can overtake the human side of things,' explains Adsit, a Second City alum. 'Knowing that no one will interrupt you, you can allow a moment to evolve.'

'We know that we have the whole hour,' Gausas adds. 'So we can take our time and have quiet moments and serious moments.'
 
Characters created in such an incubator are complicated. Those in an Adsit & Gausas show are also disgusting: greedy, petty, ruthless, manipulative and self-defeating. We see coworkers who are having an affair, a teenage model who teases and then insults her photographer's advances, a woman who pretends to have mice rather than simply ask the exterminator on a date. Self-actualized people aren't funny.

And, as the duo jokes, it's hard to know where to the draw the line between an improviser and his or her characters. When asked why they take time out of their busy careers to fiddle around for no pay in a black-box theater, Adsit responds, 'Christina and I both hate ourselves offstage, so it's fun to get to play someone else. This show is like a warm bath.'
'Oh yeah,' Gausas adds, 'otherwise I'd be at home crying.'

Adsit & Gausas happens Wed 8 at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
NY Shows

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UCB Theatre Performers & Alumni Continue To Find Television Success

Mar 7, 2015

As new information regarding the upcoming 2009 and 2010 television season begins to trickle out, the UCB Theatre continues to improve its track record as a major Hollywood resource for new and emerging comedic talent. Numerous new network pilots in production for the upcoming TV season have been developed by or cast with current and former UCB Theatre performers.

At CBS, Lennon Parham has earned a place as a principle cast member for Accidentally On Purpose starring Jenna Elfman. The sitcom revolves around a female San Francisco movie critic who finds herself pregnant after a one-night fling with a younger man.

Also on CBS is Ben Schwartz in Happiness Isn't Everything starring Richard Dreyfuss & Mary Steenburgen. The sitcom focuses on the overly involved relationships of a family of adult siblings and their parents.

Waiting To Die, another CBS sitcom ordered to pilot, could see T.J. Miller return to network television in his second starring role (Miller previously appeared on ABC's Carpoolers). The new comedy revolves around two friends -- played by T.J. Miller and long-time UCB performer, Nick Thune -- who remain happy with their lives, no matter how awful it may appear from the outside.

NBC pilot Off Duty starring Bradley Whitford and Romany Malco is a buddy comedy about cops who can't leave their job at the station. Order was written by Jason Mantzoukas and produced by Scot Armstrong.

Donald Glover is featured in NBC pilot Community starring Joel McHale as a thirtysomething guy finding himself part of an unlikely family after enrolling in a class at a community college.

Over at Fox, Rob Huebel -- who currently can be seen in the film I Love You, Man -- follows a string of memorable TV and movie appearances (Human Giant, The Office, 30 Rock) with his first potential starring network role. Huebel has been cast in The Station, a workplace comedy that revolves around a covert CIA office in South America.

Fox has also tapped Nick Kroll to play a principle cast member in Cop House. The offbeat sitcom is primarily set in a halfway house that is populated by troubled police officers.

Colton Dunn finds his way into a starring role for Fox's Brothers. The sitcom focuses on a retired football player and his struggle to reconnect with his family after he moves back to his hometown. This show is also starring football star Michael Strahan.

At ABC is comedy No Heroics about a group of superheroes with less-than-formidable powers who hang out at a bar. Based on the British format, series is to star Eliza Coupe and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Premiering Thursday April 9th is NBC's Parks & Recreation. The show pokes fun at small-town politics in the same mockumentary-style as The Office, and stars UCB founder Amy Poehler with UCB performers Aziz Ansari and Aubrey Plaza.

Also on Thursdays is ABC's new comedy series In The Motherhood. The show, based on real-life mommy experiences, stars UCB performers Jessica St. Clair and Horatio Sanz.

Cable TV networks also continue to put their faith into UCB alumni.

Spike TV has just green-lit a half-hour comedy created by Matt Walsh. The show, titled Players, co-stars Matt Walsh and fellow UCB founder Ian Roberts. The two will play brothers with opposite personalities who run a sports bar. Several UCB performers help to round out the cast, including James Pumphrey, June Diane Raphael and Danielle Schneider.

Weeds creator Jenji Kohan is at the helm of the Ronna & Beverly pilot at Showtime.  UCB performers Jessica Chaffin & Jamie Denbo created the characters and will star in the pilot also featuring Harris Wittels.

Harris Wittels is also writing and producing a six episode order of comedy series Secret Girlfriend for Comedy Central.  Unique series stars Mookie Blaiklock and features a first person format that makes the audience a central character.

MTV picked up Popzilla, an animated sketch series created by Kevin Pedersen for 8 episodes.  Andie Bolt, Michael Cassady, Jackie Clarke, Dannah Feinglass, Allan McLeod, Ben Siemon, Jeff Sloniker, Angela Trimbur and Kevin Pedersen all provided voices for the pilot.

Check UCBtheatre.com & UCBcomedy.com to find upcoming shows & videos featuring these performers.
LA General

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Overture Films acquires 'Paper Heart' starring and written by Charlyne Yi

Mar 7, 2015

Overture Has 'Paper Heart'

Overture Films has announced that it will be distributing and marketing Paper Heart, winner of the Waldo Salt Award for best screenplay at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film, directed by Nicholas Jasenovec and co-written/starring Charlyne Yi alongside Michael Cera, combines elements of documentary and traditional storytelling. The film follows Yi as Overture describes, 'she embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn't fully understand: Love.' Cera becomes the object of her affection.

'This is so exciting! I'm one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming this generation's Shirley Temple,' said Yi in a statement. Paper Heart will be debuting in theatres in Los Angeles and New York on August 7, 2009 and expanding on August 14. Overture will handle worldwide distribution of the film including the North American theatrical release. Its affiliated company, Anchor Bay Entertainment, will distribute the film in the home entertainment market in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom.

'By blending a narrative storyline with documentary support, Charlyne and Nick have created something really unique,' said Overture CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett, in a statement. 'We cannot help but be excited to be involved with a film that effectively redefines the classic love story.'

In a review for the Sundance Film Festival, indieWIRE critic Steve Ramos wrote of the film: 'If the great comedian Bob Newhart had an Asian American love child it would be Charlyne Yi. She's the drollest comic working today and her deadpan style makes the comic documentary Paper Heart, premiering in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, a fresh, irreverent road comedy.'

Charlyne performs a monthly show at UCBTLA. Check her performer page for upcoming dates.
LA General

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