Upright Citizens Brigade, the Improv Theater Co-Founded by Amy Poehler, Is Closing Its New York Location

by Jeremy Spirogis
UCB New York

The Upright Citizens Brigade is an improv theater that hosts performances and lessons in New York and Los Angeles. One of the extra well-known comedy theaters, UCB was created by 4 improvisers: Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts. Comedy individuals know these 4 co-founders because the “UCB 4.”

Unfortunately, along with many different theaters and comedy golf equipment, the Upright Citizens Brigade needed to shut down its New York City places. The closure is as a result of coronavirus pandemic–however the lockdown solely added to the theater’s long-standing monetary points.

The Upright Citizens Brigade is closing its doorways in New York City

UCB New York
The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on September 30, 2015 | Andrew Toth/Getty Images for AWXII

As Vulture not too long ago identified, the COVID-19 outbreak prompted a number of public-facing business to shut. However, UCB made a extra “drastic decision during the pandemic,” they reported. Via e-mail, the improv theater’s founders revealed the information: they are going to be closing the Hell’s Kitchen theater “as well as the UCB Training Center on 8th Avenue.”

“The closures will mean the end of an official UCB space in New York following the closure of the Chelsea theater in 2017 and the East Village theater last year,” Vulture continued. The e-mail referred to the choice as “devastating” and “heart-wrenching, but necessary.” As the e-mail defined, the theater has been experiencing monetary points for some time.

“Even in a normal, robust economy, we have barely been able to pay the high rents in New York City for the Hell’s Kitchen Theater and the Training Center,” the UCB4 wrote. The Upright Citizens Brigade “simply cannot afford to continue on in our New York City leases,” they continued. However, the UCB four are dedicated to retaining the improv tradition alive in New York.

“UCB is not leaving New York City,” the e-mail learn. “The school and the theater will continue on in a pared-down form, which will be very similar to how we operated when we first started in NYC over 20 years ago.” Other comedy venues in New York will host performances and lessons.

The comedians went on to say that they “are open to the possibility of again having our own facilities in New York in the future if we can find an economically feasible way to do so.”

UCB information comes after the improv theater laid off workers in New York and Los Angeles

UCB4 of the Upright Citizens BrigadeUCB4 of the Upright Citizens Brigade
Matt Walsh, Amy Poehler, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts in 2015 | Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Indeed, the Upright Citizens Brigade has been struggling for a while.

Comedy reporter Seth Simons has written on the controversial proven fact that UCB doesn’t pay its performers. Last month, as a result of the pandemic-related closures, Simons reported on Substack that UCB laid off most of their workers in each cities.

“This truly is a time of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 outbreak … however, we are being forced to make some very difficult decisions,” UCB’s CFO Darly La Fountain wrote within the e-mail to Upright Citizens Brigade workers.

Amy Poehler and the remainder of the UCB four responds to theater closure

For their half, the Upright Citizens Brigade founders try to help improv neighborhood members. Poehler, Besser, Walsh, and Roberts, say they need to present new choices for his or her college students and performers. As Amy Poehler advised the Hollywood Reporter in a current interview with all 4 UCB founders:

Amy Poehler of the Upright Citizens BrigadeAmy Poehler of the Upright Citizens Brigade
Amy Poehler at UCB’s 20th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon in 2018 | Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Every transfer is to make certain UCB survives and hopefully, sooner or later, thrives. We’re not ruling something out. But, actually, the short-term aim is to be clear and communicative with our neighborhood — as a result of our neighborhood is what makes the theater … We’re actually making an attempt to maintain it alive, as a result of it means so much to so many individuals and we wish them to comprehend it means so much to us.

The Parks and Recreation star additionally admitted their faults.

“I think we did make mistakes, and we’re trying to do better,” Poehler stated.

Another Upright Citizens Brigade co-founder, Matt Walsh closed out the interview by making an attempt to achieve out to the comedy neighborhood. He advised the Hollywood Reporter:

To our neighborhood, we care about you. We’re listening. We’re doing our greatest to maintain UCB alive and make it even higher than earlier than. And thanks for being half one thing which means a lot to us and hopefully means a lot to you.

Matt Walsh, the founding father of Upright Citizens Brigade who appeared on Veep and a number of other different TV exhibits, additionally chimed in. 

“We’ve lost our venues multiple times,” he stated. “We’re scrappy. So, god-willing, we’ll survive this as well. Hang in there with us as we figure this out, please.”

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