High-Status Characters: How The Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed A City, Started A Scene, And Changed Comedy Forever

High-Status Characters: How The Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed A City, Started A Scene, And Changed Comedy Forever

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by Brian Raftery
     
 
By the early ‘90s, comedy was no longer cool. The stand-up bubble had burst, sitcoms had become more formulaic than ever, and Hollywood studios were pumping out soulless, star-driven schmaltz. There were signs of hope in shows like Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and The Larry Sanders Show, all of which favored cranky hard-truths and giddy pop-culture references over

Overview

By the early ‘90s, comedy was no longer cool. The stand-up bubble had burst, sitcoms had become more formulaic than ever, and Hollywood studios were pumping out soulless, star-driven schmaltz. There were signs of hope in shows like Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and The Larry Sanders Show, all of which favored cranky hard-truths and giddy pop-culture references over glib punchlines. But for the most part, anyone looking for a laugh had no choice but to wade through hours of predictable, risk-averse corporate comedy. Things just weren’t that funny anymore.

Enter the Upright Citizen’s Brigade: a sketch-and-improv collective born in early-‘90s Chicago. When the group relocated to New York City in 1996, its core members—Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh (a.k.a. “the UCB Four”), brought with them a punk-meets-Python comedic sensibility unlike anything found on TV or in stand-up clubs. Shortly after their arrival, they’d turn an abandoned Manhattan strip-club into a hot downtown theater, attract big-name fans like Conan O’Brien, and amass a legion of eager students; many of whom would go on to create (and populate) a kinetic new wave of TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy.

For more than twenty years, the UCB has been at the forefront of a slow-burn comedy coup—one that hasn’t been documented until now. In High-Status Characters, Brian Raftery chronicles UCB’s evolution from a down-and-dirty D.I.Y. comedy playground to a highly vaunted (if still scruffy) institution, drawing on interviews with more than 80 of the theater’s founders, alumni, and friends, including Amy Poehler, Conan O’Brien, Ed Helms, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Seth Meyers, Aziz Ansari, and Janeane Garofalo. The result is a giddily exhaustive insider’s look at a genuine artistic revolution, replete with on-stage meltdowns, off-stage hook-ups, and some unexpected celebrity cameos. It’s a comedy with no shortage of drama.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940016736679
Publisher:
Megawatt Press
Publication date:
06/07/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
298,268
File size:
805 KB

Meet the Author

Brian Raftery is a contributing editor to Wired magazine, and the author of Don’t Stop Believin’: How Karaoke Conquered the World and Changed My Life (Da Capo Press). He has written for such publications as GQ, Esquire, Spin, and New York, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

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High-Status Characters: How The Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed A City, Started A Scene, And Changed Comedy Forever 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
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"Never mind, I dont want to be nurse," she said then walked out.
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Looking for nurse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to read and like this book. So, I purchased this Nook book in the summer of 2013, and it downloaded with only the cover. BN customer service indicated at the time that in fact the electronic version was published that way (missing the entire text of the book) and that they would correspond with the publisher and get me a readable Nook version. Months later, no contact from BN, called and the problem with the text remained, so BN credited my card. Now normally, a review would be based on substance of the work (and I'm sure it's wonderful). However, if in any other format, a book comes with blank pages from the publisher, and no attempt is made to fix it, that's a big fail for the book imho.
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Power-Pop_Pop_Pop More than 1 year ago
The results of improv comedy can be seen everywhere on television and films these days, and much of it is the result of people trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade, which only got its start a dozen years ago. This is a fascinating oral history of UCB from the people who were in on it from the beginning and those who came in later or watched it grow.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book very interesting. When people think of comedy groups they tend to focus on Chicago's Second City and LA's Groundlings, but UCB gives them a run for their money. The stories are all very well written and highly addictive. Highly recommended.
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A definitive account that's way to easy to blow through.
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