Upright, Outta Sight

From the dawn of civilization, they have existed to undermine it. Their only enemy is the status quo. Their only friend is chaos. Antoine, Colby, Trotter, Adair -- they are the Upright Citizens Brigade, an underground team of malcontents intent on being the most obstructive flies to ever infiltrate the ointment.

A regular viewer of Comedy Central would know the name of UCB even if the network may not have put its best marketing foot forward for the brigade's program, a sort of Kids in the Hall meets The Anarchist Cookbook sketch-comedy show. Despite their basic-cable demise, the felonious four still perform improv and sketches in theaters abroad and on the street (referred to as guerrilla sketch). They have a meticulous Web site (www.uprightcitizens.org) and are producing a movie about evil stockbrokers who create a machine that turns businesses into monopolies and later transforms humans into Howie Long clones. (Only UCB can stop them!)

Inconspicuously headquartered in Chelsea, New York, the Upright Citizens Brigade used the aforementioned cable channel to overtake American households in a menacing campaign of delinquently groundbreaking toilet humor. Its over-the-top approach to crass outlandishness stands at the front lines of indecency, leaving one to wonder, "If the envelope is pushed any further, will it have to be released exclusively at adult bookstores?"

However, Upright Citizen Adair (Matt Besser) does not really see UCB as breaking new ground. For him, controversy is merely incidental. "We're definitely pissing people off as we make people laugh," he says. The group's prime directive is to make observations about civilization. Some of those have inadvertently offended and angered members of the public. Socrates (the original gadfly) had the same problem with his commentaries. Coincidence, or the past repeating itself? Will UCB be forced one day to imbibe hemlock Big Gulps? You be the jury. You decide. Until then, UCB will be watching, always.

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Eric A.T. Dieckman