UCB Theatre (Upright Citizens Brigade)

Comedy Club
UCB Theatre (Upright Citizens Brigade) Packed to the gills every night with earthy hipsters and a smattering of Hollywood industry types, the UCB Theatre is one of the coolest places in LA to catch up-and-coming comedy stars. Los Angeles United States 34.1053724 -118.3187402
4.6 14
UCB Theatre (Upright Citizens Brigade) - Comedy Club in Los Angeles.
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Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Packed to the gills every night with earthy hipsters and a smattering of Hollywood industry types, the UCB Theatre is one of the coolest places in LA to catch up-and-coming comedy stars. Founded in 2005 by members of The... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M 7pm–midnight, Tu 7:30pm–midnight, W 6:30pm–midnight, Th 8pm–midnight, F 6:30pm–1am, Sa 7pm–1am, Su 6pm–midnight; Schedules may vary

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth UCB Theatre (Upright Citizens Brigade) Review

The Scene

Packed to the gills every night with earthy hipsters and a smattering of Hollywood industry types, the UCB Theatre is one of the coolest places in LA to catch up-and-coming comedy stars.

Packed to the gills every night with earthy hipsters and a smattering of Hollywood industry types, the UCB Theatre is one of the coolest places in LA to catch up-and-coming comedy stars.

Founded in 2005 by members of The Upright Citizens Brigade, which include Amy Poehler, the theater serves as a performance and writing school by day, but by night, its madcap students are set loose to entertain the public with a variety of improv, stand-up, and sketch shows.

Patrons willing to brave the long lines will be led through a photo-lined hallway and into a small black-box theater with a slightly raised platform stage, where comedy greats like Aziz Ansari, Flight of the Conchords, and Ed Helms have been known to still perform.

Seating is first-come first-served, so latecomers will be relegated to the folding chairs, but the place is so small that just about any seat is close to the stage, making audience members prime targets for the quick-witted jokesters who enjoy subjecting patrons’ Facebook pages to scathing ridicule.

The theater also hosts big-name comedy stars like politically incorrect veterans Sarah Silverman, David Cross, and Louis C.K., who are also known to turn their sights on unwary spectators.

Anyone who loves interactive comedy will appreciate the UCB Theatre – but since no one is safe from the performers’ jibes, patrons are warned to wear a thick skin under their vintage duds.

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Tip from Jonah:

Make a reservation on the UCB website to guarantee seating. For popular shows, get there a half hour early or risk getting stuck in a seat with an obstructed view.

  • Crowd

    Laid-back hipsters, comedy aficionados, and showbiz agents and executives of all ages, but predominantly 20s to 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Improv, stand-up, sketch, and variety shows every night. Ongoing shows include the star-studded alternative show Comedy Death Ray on Tuesdays; Facebook on Wednesdays in which audience members have their Facebook pages turned into improv sketches; and the Asssscat improv show on Saturdays.

    Lessons offered in improv and sketch writing. Check the website for a schedule of events.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Doors open fifteen minutes before the shows start. Cash only.

  • Prices

    Tickets $0–$10 depending on the show. Soft drinks and water $1. Valet $5+. Improv and sketch classes $350–$375/8 sessions.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes, but mostly jeans and t-shirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any night of the week or any time a high-profile performer is scheduled. Tuesdays for Comedy Death Ray and Saturdays for Asssscat.

  • Close By

    La Poubelle (5907 Franklin Avenue) is a cozy French bistro perfect for pre- or post-show dinner and drinks.

UCB Theatre (Upright Citizens Brigade) User Reviews

Average rating:
The Ultimate Grab Bag
Leland F. Aug 26, 2013
Some people love guarantees. Nothing beats a guaranteed good time, right? In my opinion, though, there is a good deal of fun to be found in exploring the unknown and dipping your toes into untested waters. While many of the people and groups that you see at the Upright Citizens Brigade have tons of experience, most shows are in many ways a gamble: For the cost of a ticket, you could be stepping into the ride of your life or a confusing, utterly bizarre horror show. But there's a reason people gamble: It's fun. The stakes at UCB are low. Most tickets run for five or ten dollars each, and many shows are free. No matter how bad a show winds up being, there is really no doubt that you are getting your money's worth. And when the gamble pays off and you wind up in a fun, or a great show, the thrill is intense. Of course you could just go and see some of your favorite comedians and improv troupes play, but UCB is a great place to expand your tastes and try new things with very little risk. I recently saw a post-Fourth of July show that featured a diarrhetic, depressed JFK, opposite dimension Bruce Springsteen ("The Employee"), and Mark Twain with his dick stuck in a comet, among other insanities. Was it always pure gold? No. Will I ever forget it? Probably not. If you're in the mood to enjoy an old favorite for less, or to roll the dice and experience something totally whacky, then UCB is a great place to kill an evening. Throw in the fantastic surrounding street with its record and book stores, the awesome Bourgeoisie Pig Cafe, and plentiful dining options, and you've got a trip well worth the risk.
Upright Citizens Brigade LA Style
Colby K. Aug 20, 2013
Originally started in Chicago in 1990 and then in it's most famous form in New York in 1996, Upright Citizens Brigade brings big time laughs to Los Angeles in a tiny black box theater. Located at 5919 Franklin Avenue, UCB is a great place to catch not only famous faces such as Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer, but also upstart talent including UCB training center graduation performances. As mentioned before, the UCB stage is small and therein lies it's greatest strength - the intimacy of the performers with the audience. Most of the professionals performing do shows frequently at UCB which creates a very at home atmosphere which disseminates to the crowd. Here's a cheap (most shows are around $5) easy way to get up close and personal with big name talent. Audience members generally become part of the show! Parking is usually found in the surrounding neighborhoods. Expect a line so even if you have reservations get there early. If you're hungry or thirsty stop in one of the many restaurants and bars flanking the theater. Special Tip: The best time to come see a show at UCB is Sunday nights because a special totally free show called Asssscat is performed by comedy royalty. Make sure to get there hours in advance as this is a great opportunity to see the pros do their thing for free.
Sponsors for Emerging Music/Art Festival (Downtown LA)
sofia a. Apr 13, 2013
Want to introduce your product to over 2000 of the hippest, trendiest, folks in LA next Saturday? Become an event sponsor on one of LA's coolest emerging music festivals. Stick close to home and rediscover the art and music scene thriving and brimming with talent that's poised to break so soon. Text 9176215942 for info on the festival and sponsorship packages. Lots of big secrets that we just can't share too publicly these days, but we promise--like last year, this will be wild and you'll want to be apart of this. *Location: Downtown LA *it's ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Improv & Local Heroes
Daniel B. Mar 28, 2013
My Take: I went to a weekday Harold Show so I can’t speak to some of the bigger performances, but the UCB is a small comedy venue with great shows every single day of the week. Waiting in long lines is just part of the deal, even if you have reservations, but the improv teams make the wait well worth it. The Scene: The weekday crowd is mostly full of USB students, comedy fans, and bored hipsternistas with permanent stank-face wondering what the hell’s so funny. The Harold Show brings out a rowdier crowd, ready to shout out cues for the improv teams to tackle. UCB features everyone from stand up icons to local rising stars like Ally Beardsley and Drew DiFonzo Marks. Cocktails & Cuisine: Get your food and drinks at the Bourgeois Pig, Birds, or La Poubelle before or after the show. Prices: Weekday shows start at around $5 and there isn’t any watered-down two drink minimum. What to Wear: The crowd comes out in everything from sweats and flip-flops to blazers and heels. Insider Info/When to Go: Weekend shows are almost impossible to get into unless you know a performer or have made reservations in advance. Early weekday shows feature great performers with less of a line and more of a chance that you’ll actually get in to see a performance.
BYOB, Comedy Complimentary
Deena D. Mar 26, 2013
I've been going to UCB since I was in high school. It was a great alternative to parties and since we weren't old enough for bars and clubs, it was awesome to have a fun place to go to any night of the week. Shows are some of the cheapest in LA. They don't try to gauge you with that '2 drink minimum' crap many of the big comedy clubs do. In fact, a lot of people bring in their own beers and drinks usually in paper bags. The stage is pretty small so make sure for all shows you get there pretty early. A lot of people complain about parking but if you drive up Bronson there is always spots on the street. The Facebook show has always been a favorite (an audience's Facebook is put on display and comedians poke fun and go crazy with the pictures and wall posts). The best part about UCB is the setting, both of the actual theatre and that its in the Franklin Village. The Bourgeois Pig is right next door if you want to grab a pre or post coffee or there are plenty of small restaurants near by.
The temple of alt-comedy
Jesse C. Mar 19, 2013
If you're the type of person who loves to say "I saw them back before they were huge," then the UCB Theatre is where you need to be. Showcasing super-cheap live comedy seven nights a week in the hip and happening Franklin Village (really just a street -- let's get over ourselves, guys), the UCB West takes up the mantle of its East Coast sister theater as the place where comedy nerds in the know flock to see their heroes. Sure, parking sucks around here, but even if you valet, you're still spending less than you'll drop for a beer at the Comedy Store before fulfilling the two-drink minimum and god knows what sort of cover charge. Improv and sketch shows rule the day here, but special shout-out to Carmen Esposito's new Tuesday night stand-up show, Put Your Hands Together, replacing the long-running Comedy Bang Bang stand-up showcase.
The flavor of comedy these days....
Brent L. Oct 5, 2012
I cant say im an overly effusive fan of the UCB...parking is a mess, just expect to hoof it...and the crowd can be the definition of high school, so expect to always be scanning for who else is there if you want to fit in....but that said, when it hits, the talent there can be truly something magical. The space is intimate and small enough that when it connects and when the people on stage are having as much fun as the people off...there is little else like it in LA. Go mainly for the improv and young energy of younger comedians--this isnt the place you go for stand up....but roll with the adventure and know youll have as many bad as good nights here, and all of it is what makes the "find" so special!
No frills, just funny
Nikki L. Aug 13, 2012
LA comedy, like, revolves around UCB. There's a great group of regulars, including Amy Poehler and Jimmy Pardo, who are largely centered in Los Angeles and all seem to have a good report and little inside jokes and things (so repeat visits are rewarded!). Venue is pretty small, low key, and full of comedy aficionados. Lots of people who go all the time or take improv classes there. Most of the comedy shows are $5, but standout night for me is the Doug Loves Movies podcast taping on Tuesday nights, which is COMPLETELY FREE and sometimes has really sweet surprise guests -- like Simon Pegg and Jon Hamm. It's always funny and there are PRIZES. Plus you get to listen to it as many times as you want afterward off iTunes. There's been a bit of a line lately, so you have to get there (maybe 40 minutes?) early, but there are tons of little bookstores and cafes on the block to peruse while you wait or if you feel like a snack after.
Always a Great Time
Ria S. Aug 10, 2012
For anyone who enjoys to laugh, UCB has everything to offer. Upright Citizens Brigade is a comedy improv club. UCB has had a history of famous comedians, such as Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari, yet the shows are still affordable. The tickets range from $5-$10 and there are many different recurring themes for these performances, all of which can be found on the website. For example, on Friday nights they have a theme where they act out scenes based on the ridiculous music found on audience members' iPods. They have snacks and drinks and you can also bring in your own drinks, including alcohol, as long as it is in a bag and concealed. Additionally, UCB is located on a lovely street in Hollywood, with a huge record store and classy dinner places right next door. When getting UCB tickets, I recommend getting them a few days early since they sell out and getting to the show on time, since it is a small venue and they tend to start right when they say they will. Other than that, I don't think anyone should miss an opportunity to check out a show at UCB, especially since no two UCB experiences are the same. Enjoy!
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