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Tuesday
Aug192014

"THE BOOM. THE BIP. THE BOOM BIP"

“Tiny venue, intimate atmosphere, funny acts, surprise guests. Upright Citizens Brigade Theater has all the elements needed for a fun time.”- An audience review (Thanks YELP!)

I’ve been working with the good and brilliant souls of Upright Citizens Brigade for the last few months in New York City. I’d felt that lately I’d been caught in a bit of “development hell” where things would get written, filmed and shelved…or things would get picked up, funded and sent into “turnaround” (aka a black hole where film and tv is NEVER EVER SEEN AGAIN) and in that sort of life, you can find yourself working non stop for a year or two, and yet never have anything come out, it can be a wildly frustrating feeling, because, as un-hipster as this may sound, I love it when my stuff gets seen, I love it when an audience connects, I like making audiences happy. It’s not cool sounding, but it’s how I feel, it’s why I do this line of work, I want to see you smile, laugh, clap, think, dance a little, I love it all. So when things got gridlocked and stuck “in development” I realized more and more I wanted to connect with audiences on a “live” level, get back to my roots a little bit, and that’s where UCB came in, the chance for that immediate gratification, the chance to work live and terrifyingly without a net, the chance to go goof off in NYC for a bit which is always a great feeling to go be around that energy of the big apple. What I DIDN’T expect with UCB, was the philosophies everyone had, the way a joke would be deconstructed and reconstructed with detail, pacing and purpose. The “why?” for the scene. All of this, on stage, all 100% improvised with crowds, roaming around NYC late at night, seeing TV stars, movie stars, comedians, widely known and not, and just some great improvisors who really cherish the art form of it… do this exact thing, giving monolgues, improvising scenes based around them, sitting in on each other’s scenes, it’s been an amazing sense of unity to be a part of and to witness. The equivalent is something like when you see “the rock and roll hall of fame” ceremonies on TV and at the end of it, everyone gets on stage for this huge jam session. Just these talented folks, working off each other to focus on doing a great job.


Just last weekend, in front of a packed house, right before show time, where there’s nerves, there’s all this energy, you can really feel the crowd, it’s a buzz…and one of my crew leaned over and said to me “I think I’m about to pass out” and then she went out, DIDN’T pass out but was hilarious and had a great show. Big crowds, no set plan, no idea what jokes and stories would be told? That feeling maybe wasn’t “I’m going to pass out” but maybe a feeling “oh wow, I feel ALIVE”.

Now as we wrap up these days of summer, I’m back doing a little of this “Hollywood” development stuff, I’ve been inspired to take a few half done projects with some of these characters in mind, maybe get them finished up or put a new spin on them. But for every bit of that, I’ll also be out there with that UCB crew and these good people, maybe popping up at the most random places, maybe off in New York, unannounced and fueled on 1$ dollars slices of pizza, cracking jokes and doing sketches late at night at any given time, 7 days a week…just looking to connect with the crowds, get that “buzz” looking to feel alive and most importantly, just hoping to make you all happy.

Take care and be good,

Tim

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