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Small Faces

UCB players update their MySpace show with the wonders of Facebook.

The Upright Citizens Brigade players are now mounting shows in the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival as well, under the offshoot “Zoofest” banner showcasing “underground” or “alternative” style comedy other than more conventional stand-up performances.

A newer show from the UCB, seen at the festival July 23, is the Facebook Show, something of an update of the MySpace show (seen in New York, reviewed 10/13/06), where audience members’ homepages are used for inspiration for improvisation, after a performer interviews the audience member on stage about their page while scrolling through it on a laptop onstage with them (with the images from the computer projected on a screen behind the stage).

The cast of this edition of the show included Andy Daly, Matt Walsh, Lennon Parham, Nick Kroll, Chad Carter and Chris Gethard. But all these gifted performers were very nearly overshadowed by their two subjects, both of whom were very live wires, often stepping over Carter’s interviewing to say whatever they wanted to about themselves. One, a mid-twenty-something guy named Leo or Leon (it was hard to see everything on the screen from all angles) sported a handlebar mustache and told tales of his competition in the recent World Beard and Mustache Championships in Alaska, and his imminent plans to enlist in the (U.S.) Navy; another, a Rachelle Segal, had equally lively stories of on-street photography tied into Montreal’s club scene.

The UCB players drew the most out of Leo’s desire to choose his call sign as a naval air force pilot, desiring “Goose” like in “Top Gun,” with Carter assigning a hapless recruit in a scene the call sign “Pony Dick” -- as luckier castmate Kroll strolled by with his call sign, “Horse Cock,” striding accordingly.

In the second half of the Facebook show, drawing on Ms. Segal’s page, where she had more than 100 unanswered friend requests, the UCB cast made much from this, with Daly and Carter playing a scene where Carter said Daly could come see the Harry Potter movie with him, but only if he accepted “friendship” first.

The only quibble with this performance really was that it cut off a little too soon, before the players had ample opportunity to work with the material from their second subject’s page. The show had started exactly on time, which rarely is the case in UCB shows in New York, where the house managers tend to be a little more flexible, getting a feel for the audience settling in and being ready, and being willing to push following shows slightly later to accommodate an improv performance wrapping itself up. It seems like considering that the location of the show in the fest is dedicated to mostly UCB shows, that could be replicated here.

Just For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by

Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky.




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