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Upright Citizens Are Here

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Matt Besser, founding member of the universally renowned improv group, The Upright Citizens Brigade, talked about upcoming projects over the phone with The Apiary.

I read in the Hollywood Reporter that you're executive producing a new show for the Sundance Channel. What's it about?
It's called The Best Documentaries. Every episode is a parody of a different genre. One might be about the spellbound genre of kids competing like in that new documentary with the dancing kids. Our show will have a lead character named Michael Gregory Best who is a Michael Moore/Nick Broomfield kind of guy--really cocky, thinks he's a hero for being a documentarian. I am not playing Michael Best. I will be one of the cast members that plays the other characters. It's just in development, but it's not for sure that it's going to be on. Hopefully it will. If it does, I hope to use a lot of UCB people from NYC and our new theater in LA.

Is it scripted or improv?
Kind of in between. It's going to be like how we did on Crossballs where we write out a bunch of jokes for the characters and they improvise off those jokes.

You're in L.A. now, right?
Been here for three years. Shout out to my hood Citywalk.

How is the opening of the new L.A. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre there coming?
That will open July 2nd. I am teaching improv classes. We're all teaching classes—Ian is, Matt Walsh, Sean Conroy, Andrew Daly, Danielle Schnieder, Dannah Feinglass, Jamie Denbo. We will preview our shows in July and August. And then we'll have a grand opening on September 9th.

Has there been a lot of interest in the workshops you are teaching?
Yeah, they all sold out. Same with Ian and Walsh. We're going to be doing ASSSSCAT again on Sundays and Saturdays at the new theatre. Ian and Walsh and me and Secunda and Daly and Conroy, and Jerry Minor and Adam Mckay and guests. ASSSSCAT is going to be on Bravo, September 7th at 10PM. We just got that news too. We filmed that in February in New York and Bravo just programmed it to be on as a one hour special. It's got UCB plus Andy Richter, Tina Fey, and Horatio and Rachel Dratch and Kevin Dorff. We've already edited that and seen it--it's going to be cool.

Are you going to be back in New York for the Del Close Marathon?
Definitely. The UCB Summerstage at Central Park is the first event of the Del Close Marathon. That's July 21st and it's free.

With the strong sales of Family Guy, Futurama, and Strangers With Candy on DVD, a resurgence of popularity has come to those programs and the brands. Has the same thing occurred with the Upright Citizens Brigade Season 1 DVD?
We have been getting a lot of interest from our fans. It's owned by Comedy Central. We'd love for them to release more. If there was ever a petition that would help. But we just have no control over it. It's frustrating. I get email requests everyday, but there's nothing we can do about it. It did pretty well--we sold a lot off our site.

One last thing--I read about a project called Wild Girls Gone on IMDB--is that a movie?
That's a movie we improvised. How do I put it? We have bureaucratic issues, location releases and stuff to work out. You can't release a movie til you work out all the paper work. Since it wasn't made by a studio, we pretty much have to do that stuff ourselves and it just doesn't get done because we're doing stuff that pays the bills and is immediate and in front of us. So it's done and it's really awesome. One day...

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