Saturday night, Upright Citizens Brigade performed the first of a string of improv shows that will last through the end of the festival. The UCB Tour Co., which cherry-picks the best comics from both the New York and L.A. outposts, has been hitting Fringe for years. They have a big cast down for the festival; seven comedians crowded the stage, including Saturday Night Live's Bobby Moynihan, who will be in town for at least one more show.
They kicked things off by inviting an audience member up on stage, which is my favorite way to start an improv show. Watching the comedians make fun of the volunteers is always a good way to get the ball rolling (as long as it's not me up there). Jordan, a waitress at Monza, was the enthusiastic volunteer. After Moynihan fixed her up with a T-shirt to drape over her legs (apparently a previous skirt-wearing volunteer had forgotten to wear her panties), Jordan settled in for a little public scrutiny.
They didn't find too much dirt on her, though they did find a lot of sand in her purse. They also found a cheesy save-the-date, a coupon for a rival pizza joint, and a note written on a napkin about an awesome fireplace in Asheville. She also admitted that her dream job is bartending in Spain. The comedians obviously had enough to work with, so they released her back to her seat.
The next hour or so had the Citizens improvising hilarious scenes based on the brief conversation. An adult reception featured "fuck beds" and quaalude bongs. An incredible fireplace caused people's brains to melt. Vin Diesel made an appearance at a save-the-date photo shoot. And of course, they couldn't let the bartender dream job go; their version of was a girl who just wanted to be a bus driver in Wisconsin.
Though the cast is big, they have great chemistry. They played off of each other easily and naturally, and sometimes even threw in curveballs as a challenge to their castmates (like when Moynihan randomly delivered a cup of sand in the middle of a scene). Though it's hard to pick out one as the strongest, Moynihan did have a penchant for delivering the one-liners that ended a scene.
While every scene in the first half of the show obviously referenced the initial conversation with Jordan, the second half was a little broader, and a few of the scenes weren't as successful, including a marriage counseling session. Knowing that the show was about to end, we waited for that last good scene with that last good line, but it didn't really come. The show may not have ended perfectly, but it was full of funny scenes from a talented cast of performers. If you can, catch the show while Moynihan's still in town. But it's still worth seeing when he's gone.