Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat! (Shout! Factory DVD)
B- Sound: B- Extras: B- Main Program: C
As a huge
fan of the Upright Citizens Brigade
that appeared on Comedy Central for
three seasons, this reviewer was equally excited to see what the cast could do
with a night of unscripted, unedited improv.
The cast has been doing their improv stylings for years and has been
viewed by countless audiences, but for the first time on DVD audiences get a
chance to be right in the center of the improvisational action with Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat! All the original cast of Upright Citizens Brigade is present, featuring Matt Besser, Amy
Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. A
plethora of other guest stars show up throughout the show either as actors or
monologists and only seems to add to the chaotic fun time.
the show functions (I use the word ‘function’ like an alcoholic uses the term
sober) is by having a first time audience member shout out a topic, quickly
followed by a guest monologist telling a story from their life (or not)
centering on that topic. From the brief
monologue the entire night is spawned.
Tidbits of the monologue that the cast actually were paying attention to
or found slightly amusing are taken and turned into a series of brief, chaotic,
and off-the-wall sketches. The
monologists (in this case at least) are usually well known celebrities like
Will Arnett, Tom Lennon, Kate Walsh, and so on.
is improve you often don’t have events lining up quite right, the artists don’t
always understand where the other is going with something, and the monologists
are full of ‘umms’ and ‘I dunnos.’ The
spontaneity of improv is what makes it so great, but the other side of it is
that when it’s funny it’s really funny and when its not it is like pulling
teeth. This reviewer feels that improv
for the most part should be left for live audiences. Even with the wild success of ‘family friendly’
shows like Drew Carrey’s Who’s Line is
it Anyway, improv is a comedic styling that is all the better when you are
in the midst of the laughter and chaos.
To put it simply, the transition of stage to DVD did not work out so
well for Upright Citizens Brigade:
technical features of this single disc DVD release are adequate, but nothing
flashy. The picture is presented in a
1.78 X 1 Widescreen that is colorful and has a good light/dark balance, but the
set (maybe do to stage lighting) does seem to over illuminate the people on stage
which can get distracting. The sound is
presented as a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and does a good job for what it is,
but the stage production aspect once again shines through with voices being
soft at times and hard to hear. The
extras are nice and definitely cater to fans of the series and improv
show. Extras include Upright Citizens
Brigade Interview, Monologists Interruptus, We Love Our Audience, The Asssscat
Theme, and Commentaries. The extras
don’t exactly have that rewatchable quality about them, but they are still fun
to see once through.
reviewer did have high hopes for this release and though not fully
disappointed, thought it could have been better. There are times you laugh out loud and other
times where you sit for 10-15 minutes wondering what is going on. If the viewer takes nothing else from this
release it should be the term ‘Toilet Scissors,’ watch and learn. Don’t Think.
- Michael P Dougherty II