Upright Citizens Brigade appeals to students with Dartmouth references

by Michaela Ledoux | 10/4/16 12:00am


Upright Citizens Brigade incorporated Dartmouth references into their Collis Commonground show on Friday night.

by Josue Ruiz / The Dartmouth

Do you often have trouble figuring out how to fill your Friday night? What about with a show that covers everything from Dartmouth traditions to Dianne Keaton and Tom Brady to mercury-laden shrimp? Luckily for Dartmouth students, the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, a renowned improvisational and sketch comedy theater troupe, delivered just that this weekend. Hosted by Collis After Dark, students filled Collis Commonground on Friday night with the promise of an eccentric and hilarious improv performance, with the College’s own Casual Thursday acting as the opening act.

Comedians Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh founded UCB in Chicago in 1990. It has since become a comedy star-producing empire, boasting alumni including Kate McKinnon, Sasheer Zamata and Bobby Moynihan. The recognizable UCB name was a major pull for students on Friday night.

“Their fame attracted me to come to the show,” Leanna Arjune ’19 said.

UCB began the show by asking the audience about Dartmouth traditions, places where students hang out and College history. They then interviewed a volunteer from the audience, asking her about her life, her classes at Dartmouth, her roommate and her friends. After she regaled the crowd with a story about crashing a wedding, they began the improv show with a premise inspired by the student’s answers. UCB was able to seamlessly incorporate scenes involving the Dartmouth Seven, the Greek system, the Alpha Delta house and running around the homecoming fire, just to name a few. These references garnered laughter and applause from the audience. The moments of crude humor were particularly well-received by the crowd. They roared in laughter after the performers centered a sexual innuendo-based scene on Dartmouth’s founding date of 1769, Yingna Wang ’17 said.

A staple of many UCB shows, “the Harold” is a longform improv structure in which characters, stories and references recur throughout the show, which makes the show feel like a collection of short stories.

“My favorite part was how they talked about the Dartmouth Seven and [carried] it on throughout the show,” Breanna DeBord ’20 said.

The show culminated with the final scene revealing that the whole show was the product of a Dartmouth student’s decision to major in “the Dartmouth Seven.” Tying the scenes together in such a smart way gave the show a full circle, satisfying finish. 

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