We recently spoke with Upright Citizens Brigade operative Natasha Rothwell at an undisclosed location. She came wearing a trench coat and an attitude that could cut glass. She also had a guitar.
The Upright Citizens Brigade are the rock stars of improv comedy. UCB has been a profound influence on many of us — both the 1990s TV series and the UCB theaters in NYC and LA. How does it feel to be carrying that torch?
Honestly, I feel like the torch is carrying me. Wait … would that mean I’m the fire or I’m on fire? And if I’m carrying the torch, do I have to run or can I walk? Where did the fire come from? Who let you in here?
(Natasha cries and curls up in a fetal position. We administer smelling salts and play a few bits from George Carlin’s first comedy album. She quickly recovers.)
Do you enjoy the give-and-take of working with other troupes at the Sarasota Improv Festival?
It’s amazing to work with other teams around the country, whether it’s coaching them or sharing the stage with them. (Strumming guitar.) Improv is magic that way; it brings people together.
Inquiring minds want to know: What is ASSSSSSCAT?
The best of the best doing the best of the best.
What's the most fun you’ve ever had doing improv?
The ... Sarasota ... Improv ... Festival?
(Natasha slowly begins backing away.)
Have any of you performed in Sarasota before? Are you looking forward to it? Dreading it? What?
I can’t wait! I’ve never been to Sarasota before, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. (She purrs.)
Without pointing fingers at any ‘other’ troupes, there’s a lot of tame improv going around. Do you get a kick out of keeping it raw, real and a little edgy?
“Edgy?” (Lights cigarette.) You don’t know edgy.
(Natasha throws cigarette at a puddle of gasoline and walks off into the distance.)
To read more about the Sarasota Improv Festival, click here.
IF YOU GO
Sarasota Improv Festival
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 11 and 5 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12
Where: Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.
Cost: Single show tickets $10; special events $25; weekend pass $59; nightly pass $49; workshops $29
Info: Call 366-9000 or visit floridastudiotheatre.org.
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