Posted April 25, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

Upright Citizens: Not For Children

Even with a small child in the front row, nothing was off-limits for the Upright Citizens Brigade.

For the third year in a row, presented by Evergreen’s comedy group Generation Friends, the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Tour came to campus for an hour-long show this past Saturday night, April 20. 150-plus students and community members came out to watch the improvisational comedy group from Los Angeles consisting of four “players”: Nicole Byer, David Harris, Tricia McAlpin and Betsy Sodaro. Setting the pace for their show, the UCB TourCo ran onto the stage and began crowd sourcing material to adlib about.

“Improv is unique because it’s about finding content rather than performing,” said one of Gen. Friend’s coordinators, Gabriel Smith. “Someone practicing or studying improv is more concerned about showcasing the process of discovery within comedy, rather than trying to think of something funny.”

The show began when Gen. Friend’s own Caleb Hepker was chosen to be interviewed by the UCB about his lack of sleep and attempt to learn how to “twerk”. After a short demonstration of twerking by the UCB and Hepker, the players launched into scenes that skillfully incorporated nearly everything Hepker mentioned.

Displaying their quick wit and ability to think fast on their feet, the UCB switched between improvisational scenes fluidly. Their style of comedy – long form improv – focuses on performing short scenes that are related through stories, specific characters, or themes. When one performer mentioned his fear of Best Buy, the group moved seamlessly into a skit about a paranoid customer at Best Buy realizing that the store doesn’t always have the “best buy”– “Ever heard of Craigslist?”.

In Smith’s opinion, the UCB “knocked it out of the park.”

The UCB kept the audience on their toes, tied in older pieces of the performance, and used everything they learned from the few crowd-sourced stories to keep everyone laughing.

In one scene the troupe exaggerated the mindset of protesters, pitching to their “leader” random things to protest about such as fog (“God hates fogs”) and stomach aches (“Drop Pepcid AC, Not Bombs”). Hepker had mentioned his program at Evergreen involved social movements. “There’s always something to complain about,” said McAlpin.

Whether the skit was about a fat dog with a rabid food addiction, people who personify their tractor (“Let’s take the tractor to Wal-Mart for a family photo.”), or a man with a disability of having “deaforgasms” working as a porn star, everything was fair game for the UCB.

The show ended with two drunks in a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle. “We’re in international waters, doesn’t that mean we could marry a horse or something?”

By Kelli Tokos