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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Science Fiction > Gadgets > New Wave > Spoof > TV > Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat! (Shout! Factory DVD)

Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat! (Shout! Factory DVD)


Picture: 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 way 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.


Since it 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: Asssscat!


The 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.


This 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


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