The Austin Chronicle

ColdTowne: Getting Upright with the originals

By Robert Faires, March 7, 2008, Arts

The news that Upright Citizens Brigade is headed back to town might be met with a shrug and the question, "Weren't they just here?" Indeed, a version of the cult comedy team was one of the first performances in the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz last November, but that was the UCB touring company. The UCB due in Austin this week is the core of the troupe: members Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, in other words, three-fourths of the Brigade from its heyday in the late Nineties, when it won a national following with a deliciously twisted series on Comedy Central. (Fourth member Amy Poehler is, sadly, otherwise engaged these days.) These Brigadiers will be returning to Austin for the first time since their 2000 show at the Bad Dog Comedy Theater (although Besser was here two years ago, performing his solo show, Woo Pig Sooie, at the Alamo Lake Creek). The trio will present five shows, two at the new United States Art Authority, by Spider House, on Wednesday, March 12, and two at ColdTowne Theater, with ColdTowne opening the show, on Thursday, March 13, and a program of "F'ed Up and Illegal Videos" at the Alamo Drafthouse South on Friday, March 14.

ColdTowne, that improv troupe that seems unstoppable, is the reason that UCB is making its appearance here. Troupe member Chris Trew made the contact and asked so nicely that Walsh, Roberts, and Besser couldn't say no. (The fact that the troupe would be able to promote its new website,, during South by Southwest was coincidental, surely.) ColdTownie Michael Jastroch says that having UCB in the house is "super exciting, because these guys are heroes for us – in an improv and sketch sense but also in the way they built up the country's largest improv theatre and community. It's definitely something we've strived for with our own classes and marketing."

Upright Citizens Brigade performs Wednesday, March 12, 8 & 10pm, at United States Art Authority, 2906 Fruth, and Thursday, March 13, 8 & 10pm, at ColdTowne Theater, 4803 Airport and presents a program of videos Friday, March 14, midnight, at the Alamo Draftohouse South Lamar. For more information, call 524-2807 or visit

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