Monday, April 26, 2010

UCB and TGS: Sue Galloway

Listen up, comedy fans! "UCB and TGS" features some of's funniest writers and performers that play "TGS Writers" on the hit television show 30 Rock. You know, the people on the receiving end of Liz yelling "BLERG"?

Sue Galloway is 30 Rock's resident scene stealer as Sue LaRoche-Van der Hout, The Girlie Show's "Girl Writer" of European descent (French? Dutch? French AND Dutch?).

Sue and Keith Powell, who plays "Toofer"

Sue says of her first day on the 30 Rock set, "I called my boyfriend at the time, John Lutz, because I was pretty sure he was going to be there too. John and I traveled all the way out to Queens from the Upper West Side together for the first day and it was great. The TGS writers spent long hours together there the first few seasons. LONG! But we all enjoyed each other's company. And I enjoyed John's company so much that I married him!"

A veteran of the UCB stage, Sue has been in shows such as the Real Real World, Beneath Gristedes, the Harold team 1985, and her one-woman show Homebody. Her current improv team, The Law Firm, joins the Friday night line-up on May 7, 2010. (Check it out!)

Sue's other New York theater credits include: Free To Be Friends (co-writer and performer - NY Fringe), Beaver (Horsetrade Theater Company) and Rosemary with Ginger (Actors Studio). Additional television credits include: Babylon Fields (CBS), Fat Guy Stuck In Internet (Adult Swim), Munchies (Fuse), and The Nighttime Clap (Fuse).

Sue is also a freelance joke writer for SNL's Weekend Update and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

Watch Sue in the video Do You Work Here?:

Late for Lunch:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sneak Peek from Diamonds, Wow!

Here's a shot from an upcoming Diamonds, Wow! video, "A League of Their Own Quote Club," written by Caitlin Tegart.

If a sentence including the words Caitlin Tegart and A League of Their Own (!) did not send you into excitement overdrive, check out who stars in this video: D'Arcy Erokan, Morgan Jarrett, Molly Lloyd, Ashley Ann Hale, Nicole Drespel, Marcy Jarreau, Joe Spellman, Brandon Scott Jones, Mike Scollins, Amey Goerlich, Chris Scott, Alex Kane, Virginia Thompson and Will Choy.

A sketch dream team! Keep your eyes peeled in early May.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Behind the Scenes: 4/20 from The Brig!

Sometimes, sketch comedy is dangerous business -- for example, the latest shoot from The Brig. Although most of the pot-themed video was filmed indoors, the sketch, written by Adam Sacks, also required the actors to hit the streets of downtown Brooklyn while engaging in some suspicious behavior. Justin Tyler not only had to don booty shorts and a trench coat, he also had to run out of a store carrying half a dozen candy bars -- while simulating lighting up a pipe. Fortunately/unfortunately, Justin did not end up wearing cigarette glasses with Lady Gaga in jail. "The video's not exactly after-school special material," says director/editor Nate Russell.

On set with The Brig

In spirit of the video, this blog was posted at 4/20 at 4:20am. Check it out:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sneak Peek from The Brig

If visiting isn't part of your morning ritual (like bagels or crying to "Empire State of Mind" on the subway), it's time to start: The Brig's "Overly Ambitious Ensemble Drama" will hit the site in the coming weeks!

Looks fun, right?

UCB and TGS: Nate Smith

Listen up, comedy fans! "UCB and TGS" features some of UCB Comedy's funniest writers and performers that play "TGS Writers" on the hit television show 30 Rock. You know, the people on the receiving end of Liz yelling "BLERG"?

The role played by UCB powerhouse Nate Smith on 30 Rock has been dubbed "Johnny Reaction" by fellow UCB writer Geoff Garlock. "That sums up my role on the show," says Nate. "No talking, just a lot of looking the way somebody looks after somebody else just said that thing. I love doing it."

On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon once referred to the TGS staffers that surround Twofer and Frank as "the writers who never talk," but on set the "fake writers" are known by another name: "the UCB guys." Nate says, "Having where we come from be acknowledged by the crew feels like a compliment."

Nate definitely fits the title of a "UCB guy." He has been part of dozens of shows on the UCB stage and currently performs with the Harold team Badman. Nate also regularly directs at the UCB, including Cool Your J, Highly Evolved Human, I Laughed Until I Died and sketch shows for Maude team Slow Burn. He is also a founding member of the indie improv and sketch group, Rogue Elephant, who have performed their extremely popular monthly show for over five years. (Their huge fan turnout will soon force them to relocate from Under St. Mark's Theatre.)

Nate recently starred in's racy new video, Atheists Having Sex:

He also penned this sketch for the UCB show Beneath Gristedes:

And look for Nate in a lead role in the upcoming independent feature, Hello Lonesome, directed by Adam Reid!

As an actor, writer, director and documentary producer/editor (the man does it all!), Nate has a lot going on -- and his many projects can all be found on his recently launched website. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oscar-Nominated Director on Working with UCB Comedy Performers and Filmmakers

UCB performers Adam Pally and Sarah Burns appear in the upcoming film, Monogamy, directed by Oscar-nominated director Dana Adam Shapiro (Murderball). The film also received additional editing by Todd Bieber,'s Director of Content and Production. In an interview with UCB Comedy, Dana said, "Our casting director, Billy Hopkins, brought in Adam Pally to read for the role of Quinny. He looked too young, but his audition was so off-the-cuff and strange in a good way that we wanted to find a way to get him into the movie. So we turned a bit part written for a 'goombah groom' into a much bigger part that allowed Adam to do a lot of improv. After seeing him perform at UCB with Death by Roo Roo, I asked him to recommend a few women that could play his bride-to-be, and he mentioned Sarah Burns. I thought she was hilarious in I Love You, Man and Flight of the Conchords so we met for drinks at the Brooklyn Social and that was that."

Dana notes that he asked Todd to help edit the Adam and Sarah scenes because they gave such a wealth of comedic material. "There were so many takes to choose from, like when Sarah gets mad at Adam for doing the robot like a Nazi. Todd nailed it."

, part-mystery thriller and part-relationship drama, stars Chris Messina and Rashida Jones. It will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival; tickets are available on-line.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

UCB and TGS: John Murray

Listen up, comedy fans! This is the first post of a new feature, "UCB and TGS," which will feature some of UCB Comedy's funniest writers and performers that play "TGS Writers" on the hit television show 30 Rock. You know, the people on the receiving end of Liz yelling "BLERG"?

Next time you watch 30 Rock, look closely: UCBNY favorite and all-around great guy John Murray has been acting on 30 Rock since the second season. Initially, John thought playing a TGS writer would be a one-time gig, but he now makes regular appearances on the show. "It's a cool job," says John. "I get to work with the best actors on television and hopefully make a scene funnier by reacting to what they're doing. Every day, I learn something new about acting or how a television show is put together by simply sitting back and watching the cast and crew."

For John, one of the highlights of working on 30 Rock was the chance to perform with the cast as part of 30 Rockprov at the Del Close Marathon. "It was the perfect mix because UCB got me the role and there are so many improvisers that work on 30 Rock," notes John. "It was also nice to do scenes with people who star in the show and react by well... talking."

When he's not dodging projectiles launched by Liz Lemon, John lends his acting talents to an array of UCB Comedy videos, including a video with the Beta team Diamonds, Wow! and the new UCB Comedy web series How to Make A Situation About You. He also cites Monkey King, written by former "TGS Writer" Sean Clements, as a personal favorite. (Sean has since moved to L.A., 30 Rock is filmed in New York.)

John Murray is no stranger to the UCB stage, either – he started taking classes in 2004. He recently joined the house team Death by Roo Roo and can be seen performing with them every Saturday night. “Right now, all I do is look forward to Saturday so I can play with those guys,” says John. Prior to joining Roo Roo, John was a member of Bastian, which as of 2009 became the longest running Harold team in UCBT history. He is also a member of the Maude team Stone Cold Fox.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Behind the Scenes: The Brig

Adam Sacks of UCB Comedy's The Brig wants to give you some insight into creating one of their videos...

From Adam:

Here's a video I directed and did the effects for recently.

Some people asked me how I created the backgrounds for the video, so I figured I'd go over the basics.

In Photoshop I start with flat colors. I try to go with a middle color for each section, that way I can add shadows and highlights later.

Then I add extra layers on top of darker colors to create shadows. It's pretty common for me to use 3 or 4 layers per section to build up shadows gradually, instead of trying to do it all at once. I use different opacities and blending modes on the layers to get the look I want.

Next I do the same thing, but with highlights.

This still looks very computery, so the next step is to overlay photos of textures to get the types of variation in color and value that make something look real. For the wood I added some wood textures (a no-brainer), and for the glass I added some concrete textures to make it look frosted.

And finally I flattened the glass section and warped it a bit to make it look curved instead of flat. In general, it's much easier to work with rectangular shapes (because it's much easier to make rectangular selections), and then when you're done, warp them into the shape you want.

And just to give you an idea, here's a screen capture of just some of the layering that went into making this background.

Monday, April 5, 2010

BEHIND THE SCENES: Rob Lathan and Crazy Legs Conti

Now that we’ve launched the brand new UCBCOMEDY.COM we are going to make a huge effort to reach out to our community and provide a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes at UCB COMEDY. That said, from now until the end of time we are going to start providing frequent behind the scenes blog-posts will do the following:

-tell the stories about when things went right
-tell the better stories about when things went horribly wrong
how or why we did something
-respond to questions or curiosities
-weave casual meanderings on the topic of the zeitgeist of our culture

To start things off today I am going to tell some of the tales behind the first episode of one our newest series “Rob Lathan’s Impossible Challenge”:

When I was first tasked with the job of producing Rob’s series I was submerged into a world of ridiculous characters and silly business deals. Our first episode was slated to be about competitive eating so I zeroed my efforts in on connecting with the International Federation of Competitive Eaters. Initially the IFOCE was hesitant to agree to put me in contact with their eaters. They didn’t want the eaters to look bad and I had to assure them over and over again that the only one who would look bad would be our own Rob Lathan.

Days turned into weeks and eventually our window for shooting the episode narrowed. I had assumed that the IFOCE wasn’t interested in being a part of the video and I started looking to move on to a new concept. That is, until I received the super friendly and super awesome voicemail from world famous competitive speed eater Crazy Legs Conti. His voice-mail began with him explaining that he just, "finished off a trough of oatmeal" and then he proceeded to give me a quick tutorial on how to eat French fries plain versus French fries with gravy ("they work different quadrants of the jaw")--- all on my voicemail. He left me with his contact information for the Penthouse Executive Club and was extremely open to any of our ideas.

When it came to the actual shoot, Crazy Legs was such and easy going guy and was so comfortable that while we were conducting the post-eating interview he dug around the table of half eaten food and resurfaced with two pieces of wheat bread surrounding a powdered doughnut (the essential ingredients of a doughnut sandwich). As he chomped into his casual doughnut sandwich he decided to wash it down with an entire pitcher of water sitting on the table (as Rob talked Matt Fisher stared in awe as this all took place). This was genuinely one of my favorite moments of the shoot (you can see said doughnut sandwich at the end of the video) and Crazy Legs treated it like an everyday snack-- which it may have been.

The shoot was crazy and fun and everyone involved had a good time. That said, we want to extend a special thanks to the folks at the IFOCE for helping to make this happen, to Crazy Legs Conti for being so awesome, and to the Triple Crown for letting us shoot there. We hope you enjoy the video and definitely stay tuned because we have some new Impossible Challenges lined up.

If you have any questions about this video or any others please feel free to post it on the message boards and we will respond there or if it’s awesome we might respond here!

“Eat all you can” – Crazy Legs Conti

Thursday, April 1, 2010


If you haven't noticed the re-design by now -- relaunched April 1! Check the site frequently for original sketch videos, web series, live shows, and behind-the-scenes documentaries by the top up-and-coming comedians from New York and Los Angeles. "Our site features the best work of the best people working in the alternative comedy scene today," says Ian Roberts, who co-founded Upright Citizens Brigade with Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, and Matt Walsh.

The new, streamlined features a front page with more videos that can easily be shared across a variety of platforms. The site has also introduced a new rating system that allows viewers to add or take away from each video’s “Bucket of Truth,” a nod to the first episode of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s television show and ASSSCAT's donations tub.

The site spotlights Beta teams, the website's answer to Harold teams (for improv) and Maude teams (for stage sketches). Beta teams post new videos once a week and have created quite the stir since their January 2010 debut. Beta videos have been picked up by Gizmodo, the Huffington Post and the Jimmy Fallon blog, just to name a few. (Catch up on the latest Beta videos!)

The website overhaul has been one of the first major projects for Todd Bieber,'s Director of Content and Production, who joined UCB from The Onion News Network in January.

Although the site boasts a new design and added features,'s mission remains the same: showcasing the overwhelming amount of talent in the UCB community and producing the funniest videos around. "The new wave of comedy is already here and they're doing shows and making videos at UCB," says UCB co-founder Matt Walsh.