Upright Citizens BrigadeImprovisation and Sketch ComedyTraining Center
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up for a course?
Here's a list of all courses currently available. There are two ways to sign up. You can register online and pay for the course using credit card or debit card. You can also register and pay in person at our Training Center with credit card, debit card, cash, or check.
When do you announce new courses?
New courses go online all the time. (We do not have semesters, so our classes operate on a rolling basis). The best way to stay up to date is to bookmark our full list of currently available courses. We also announce classes on our twitter account @UCBClassesNYC. We usually posted 5 - 20 new classes each week. Classes are scheduled about 2-6 weeks in advance. We have classes seven days a week in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The class I want is sold out. Can I get on a waiting list?
We can't maintain waiting lists. If a student withdraws from a course before it begins, that spot will be made available online. Keep checking the list of all courses currently available. Due to high demand it is not unusual for a class to sell out in 1-2 minutes. 50-75 students could be online attempting to register for 16 spots.
How much do courses cost?
Tuition typically is $400-$475 for courses that are 8 sessions long.
Do I need to buy the Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual?
Improv 101 students required to acquire the Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual for the course. To get credit for this class bring your copy of the book to class by session 2. The Manual can be purchased for non-refundable $25 at UCB Theatre, UCB Training Center, ucbstore.com or Amazon.com.
Which Improv level should I start in?
New students at UCB would begin with Improv 101. Our philosophy, curriculum, and terminology all differ from other improv and acting schools, so we have found that it benefits our students most to start at the beginning and build a solid foundation in the UCBT style of long-form improv.
We offer advanced standing to students who have studied at IO Chicago and IO West. If you have experience at either of those schools and you would like to ask about advanced placement, you can email the Training Center registrar ([email protected]). Only students who have received special permission from the Training Center office may start in Improv 201.
Which Sketch level should I start in?
All new students begin at Sketch 101, regardless of your past experience. Each level of our sketch program builds upon the previous level. So it is important to take them in order and from the beginning. We do not offer advanced standing for sketch.
It's been awhile since I took a class. Where should I start?
If it's been over two years since you completed a class at UCB students should contact the Training Center ([email protected]) to see which level they will be re-admitted to.
How often do courses meet?
Courses typically meet for 3 hours, once a week for 8 weeks. Some courses meet twice a week for 4 weeks, and we also have intensive courses that meet over the week for one or two weeks.
Where are courses held?
The UCB Training Center is located at 520 8th Ave 9th Floor.
Will I get to perform?
Improv Course levels 101-301 all have a graduation show that takes place at our Theatre at the end of the course. Level 401 & Advanced Study classes have two performances, and our Advanced Study Performance level improv courses get a 1-4 week run at the UCB Chelsea theatre. For sketch courses, depending on the level, there are opportunities to perform, but sketch students are not required to perform if they do not want to.
Who teaches the courses?
The bulk of the courses are taught by performers who have been through the UCB Training Program and with our theatre for several years. Many were trained by the UCB, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler. We also offer courses with other professional comedy writers and performers that have not been through the UCB Training Program, but have the necessary experience from working in comedy.
Do you allow auditing or drop-ins?
No. To maintain course integrity, we do not allow auditing. Only students who have registered and paid will be allowed to attend. Student guests or auditors are not allowed. Prospective improv students are encouraged to attend Harold Night or Graduation Shows while sketch student should see Maude Night for a sense of the UCB Training Center's philosophy and style.
How can I get a refund?
Email the registrar at [email protected] with your full name and the class you would like to be removed from. (Please also send the four digit class ID.) If you qualify for a refund the registrar will remove you from the course and you should see the funds back on your card within 3-4 business days. Refunds differ per course so check the class polices (which you receive via email after registering) to see if you qualify.
I have zero experience. Will I be okay?
Yes! Do it up! Our program is built for all walks of life and you will not be lost in class. Our teachers are trained to make every student feel welcome and comfortable no matter what their past experience in Improv or Sketch might be.
Do you allow make-ups?
Improv courses 101-301 have opportunities for make-ups. Students are allowed to schedule a maximum of two make-ups per course but they do not cancel out absences. Make-ups are not mandatory and they are also not guaranteed. We do NOT offer make-ups for sketch classes. Call the Training Center to schedule a make-up.
Do you offer summer intensives?
We offer intensive courses for Improv 101 and Improv 201 all year round. These courses are anywhere from one to two weeks long. We do not offer sketch intensives.
Do you offer teen classes?
We allow students as young as 16 for our standard core classes. We also offer a teen improv class for students 15-18 and focuses on exercises and skills designed for younger improv students. A parent or guardian must sign a parental release form before the student begins a class. Email the UCB Training Center to receive a copy of the form. ([email protected])
Do you have payment plans?
No. You must pay the full tuition when you register for a course. Your spot in the course is not secure until payment is received.
Do you offer gift certificates?
We currently don't offer gift certificates for tuition at our school.
We offer work-study internships at the theaters, which students can apply for after they have taken two classes at UCB. You can pick up the application at our training center at 520 8th Ave 9th Floor. Interns work one night a week for a six-month commitment, during which students receive two classes. UCB Theatre Intern Coordinator: Claire Gilbertsen ([email protected]).
We also have office internships for college students for class credit. For information about our internships please email the UCB Office internship coordinator Herson Castillo ([email protected]).
Can I take sketch and Improv classes concurrently?
Many of our students feel confident about enrolling in improv and sketch simultaneously. As long as the classes don't overlap and you believe you can handle the workload it is fine.
What is a Harold?
The Harold is the original long form structure developed by Del Close and outlined his book, Truth in Comedy, written with Charna Halpern. To perform a Harold, a team takes a single suggestion from the audience, spins the suggestion into a set of ideas through an opening which then inspires a number of scenes and group games. Characters, ideas and games return throughout the Harold and eventually connect. The best way to be introduced to Harold is to come to Harold Night, Tuesdays at our theatre and see our house teams perform it.
Can UCB teach a workshop at my business or a show at my school?
Yes. The UCB Touring Company offers both Improv and Sketch workshops and shows. Contact Carter Edwards ([email protected]) the Executive Producer for more information.
How do I get on a Harold/Maude/Lloyd team?
The artistic director of the theatre selects performers for our house teams based on teacher recommendations and occasional auditions. It should be stressed that only a small percentage of students ever make it on to house teams. It takes skill, talent, a lot of dedication and time to become a performer or writer at the UCB Theatre. More information can be found on the UCB Theatre FAQ.
I still have questions, is there someone I can talk to?
Contact our Training Center Registrar via email, [email protected] or phone, 212.929.8107. For questions about a specific class please include the four digit course ID associated with the class. Available Monday - Friday 10:00am-7:00pm ET and Saturday and Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm ET