Comedy nerds are very familiar with the Upright Citizens Brigade. The rest of the planet probably remembers the short-lived sketch comedy show from the late '90s and would definitely recognize many of UCB's prestigious alumni. Amy Poehler. Horatio Sanz. Adam McKay. Ed Helms. Aubrey Plaza. Approximately a bajillion others.
UCB started in Chicago in the early '90s, but things took a turn when Poehler and company moved to New York in '96. Suddenly, the biggest stars of the future of American comedy were performing improv shows with each other and then getting stupid drunk at a bar called McManus and awkwardly hooking up with each other.
A 2011 New York magazine story spawned a book, High-Status Characters: How the Upright Citizens Brigade Stormed a City, Started a Scene, and Changed Comedy Forever, which is available via the B&N Nook app. In the most meta promotional idea ever, an excerpt from the book that was inspired by a New York magazine story is available on New York magazine's entertainment site, Vulture.
AMY POEHLER: To this day, UCB is part high school, part rehab, part training camp, part substitute family, part junior college for life. And you have to figure out how to manage this high school without anybody blowing it up.
Aubrey Plaza talks about the time she was picked to do a St. Patrick's Day show that required all of the performers to be legally drunk (they used a breathalyzer to determine whether or not you were drunk enough to go on stage). She says she made out with Ellie Kemper. Andy Richter talks about getting wasted and sleeping with other performers. The hilarious excerpt offers a brief glimpse into the seedy and awkwardly sexual world of comedy's biggest stars. It's definitely worth a few minutes of your crappy Friday afternoon. [NY Mag]