Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

Best Improv, March 2006

The pop consciousness always remembers when times were funnier—back when there was National Lampoon’s Lemmings, or Saturday Night Live and SCTV circa 1978, or Mr. Show. Improv theaters and troupes suffer from the same disease, polishing alum lists like old trophies, but the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre attracts a crowd because the players are leaning over the edge right now, looking for what’s coming next. Saturday night’s ASSSSCAT show draws the best-known funny people: Jack Black, Ed Helms, and Janeane Garofalo; Sarah Silverman and B.J. Novak are regulars at Tuesday night’s Comedy Death-Ray. Wednesday night’s MySpace is proof that life is funnier—and more unsettling—than art, with comedians riffing on audience members’ MySpace pages. The shows are cheap, ranging from $5 to $8. Upright Citizens Brigade broadcasts a clear message in a town packed with venerable clubs: The future of comedy outshines its glorious past.