Here's an announcement that's as surprising as it is delightful: Universal has signed an overall deal with the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Yes, that Upright Citizens Brigade.
Amy Poehler. Ian Roberts. Matts Walsh and Besser. These folks have appeared in a truly staggering number of top-shelf comedy projects over the past two decades (including Parks And Rec, Veep, Anchorman, Key And Peele, Arrested Development, Walk Hard, Mystery Team, and Inside Out), but they got their start together all the way back in 1990, when they were known as the Upright Citizens Brigade (Fun Fact #1: the original original UCB lineup included Adam McKay).
The group started in Chicago before heading to New York, where they proved popular enough to land their own Comedy Central series and establish their own theater. The show only lasted for three seasons (1998-2000), but remains legendary amongst discerning comedy nerds, the kind of thing you're obligated to mention in the same breath as The Kids In The Hall, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Mr. Show.
Meanwhile, the founding of two UCB theaters (one in NYC, one in Los Angeles) has allowed the UCB to amass quite the team of writers, performers, and directors over the years (Fun Fact #2: Ant-Man's Peyton Reed directed early Upright Citizens Brigade episodes), and now it sounds like they're going to put all that talent to good use.
According to Deadline, the group's deal with Universal currently includes five projects, all of which are being guided through development by various UCB alumni. They are as follows:
WE CAN FIX YOU
Is your personal life in need of an overhaul? Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and a team of UCB comedians take on the personal problems of a studio audience and then, using unorthodox methods, set out to transform their lives for the better. They may not be trained, but their empathy runs deep. Based on the successful UCB stage show. Matt Besser, Owen Burke, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Aliyah Silverstein serve as executive producers.
HOUSE OF DELTA
The cutthroat inner machinations of a Southern sorority as told through the dramatic lens of a political thriller. If you think the drama depicted in David Fincher’s “House of Cards” is intense, wait until you get a glimpse of the dark inner workings of the Delta Omega sorority at Southeast Georgia State University! Laura Grey and Megan Stein to write and executive produce.
A parody of musically-driven TV shows (“Empire,” “Nashville,” “Glee”) that follows a group of misfits in the surprisingly high-stakes world of Karaoke. Jeff Hiller and Pam Murphy are executive producers/writers.
THE PELIGROSO PROJECT
Horatio Sanz (“Saturday Night Live”) and Tom Gianas (“Mr. Show with Bob and David”) present a comedy series showcasing writing and performances from the next generation of Latino talent. Each episode features sketch comedy performed in front of a live studio audience, digital shorts and live man-on-the-street bits.
This mockumentary series follows the passionate but misguided members of a church planning committee as they prepare for their biggest event of the year: a sin-themed haunted house. Adam McCabe, Noam Bleiweiss and Betsy Sodaro to write and executive produce.
Having been a fan of the many, many funny people associated with the UCB brand over the years, this is outstanding news. I'm up for anything that comes with the UCB seal of approval, and look forward to giving all of these projects a shot.
You are cordially invited to celebrate this news by sharing your favorite Upright Citizens Brigade sketch in the comments below. I can't find my favorite ("Ass Pennies"), so here's a look at my second-favorite UCB bit: the tragic saga of Little Donny (and his enormous penis).