My trip to Upright Citizen’s Brigade

So,
when I was in California in January I visited the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in LA. The event I saw was not a performance piece or a play or that type of theater, but a stand-up show they run each week called Put Your Hands Together. This was a really weird thing for me that feels years in the making:

When I lived and worked in Randolph about 5 years ago, one of the people I worked with brought in a burned DVD containing some rips of the British TV Series “QI.” My housemates and I were hooked right away and once that DVD was done, I torrented the rest and consumed the whole series. Today, I still watch the show pretty regularly but now on YouTube.  It has become something that I’ve seen all episodes of many times and still makes me laugh.

YouTube has suggestions on the side of the screen when watching things that are related to what you are watching.  I happened to randomly click one one day and watched part of a show with a comedian that I thought was really funny and wanted to watch more of, David O’Doherty.  For real, seriously funny man.

This clip of him performing his song Life stood out to me.  It’s pretty much my favorite style of humor and really smart.  So, turns out this is a clip of DO’D on a Podcast I hadn’t heard before called You Made It Weird.  But, I’ve been listening to Podcasts for a couple years now and I was interested.

Turns out You Made it Weird is part of an online collective called The Nerdist.  There are dozens of podcasts based in the LA area in this collection with an ever revolving cast comedian/actor/writer/musician guests that cycle through them.  I started listening right away.

This is where the story culminates.  At my visit to UCB I saw a great lineup consisting of
Kumail Nanjian
Moshe Kasher,
Jon Daly,
Adam Conover,
Ahmed Bharoocha,
Phoebe Robinson.

A few of these names I had been hearing for the past few months on a regular basis as the hosts of Nerdist podcasts talked about their lives in the LA area as well as about Comedy in general. What struck me as remarkable was how low-key, informal this all was. There were these people who were central figures of my entertainment recently that I enjoyed greatly. And, since it all happened in LA and I live in Vermont, I had come to accept that I would probably not ever get to see these people, at least not without them getting huge and charging large amounts and performing in large venues. But then I found myself in the area for some random purpose and here I was, just walking in like I belong there. This could be every Tuesday night for me, hanging out at junk like this.

I’m sure this is a common experience for people in centers with larger populations. I have never really understood this before. Cities have been a strange concept for me and only in the last couple years have I started to get the advantages. While I don’t like large groups of people or waiting places or traffic or many of the signs of a city, I’m realizing now how much the benefits can really overcome these negatives.

And lastly, if that man hadn’t taken the time to burn a data DVD with season 1 of QI on it 5 years ago, I can’t be sure I would have ever had this experience. It may be a foolish thing to think about but I feel like this is the start to this story.

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