“Drinking is unfortunately associated with this event,” VEEP star Matt Walsh said at Friday’s champagne reception to kick off the annual Upright Citizens Brigade’s Del Close Improv marathon. “It is part of your game plan when you come to this weekend.”
The weeklong event started earlier that day, when UCB founders Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser held a 90-minute “press conference” at the company’s basement theater in Chelsea, during which your blogger was handed a beer. Poehler and the crew fielded questions from the audience and performed a few improvised skits.
After the presentation, the Parks and Rec star discussed the drinking going on at the kick-off party. “Drinking is good,” she told VF Daily. “Smoking pot is not great for improv. But drinking can be O.K., a little bit.” What’s wrong with smoking pot? “Well, you’re just in your head and forget things, and you might get freaked out,” she said. “Um, some people might; I don’t know. So I’ve heard.”
As for her ideal improv wardrobe? “I do not improvise in heels,” Poehler declared. “I improvise in sneakers. Why would I improvise in heels? It’s terrible.” (When VF Daily pointed out that she had been, in fact, wearing heels, high ones, all afternoon, Poehler replied, “It was a very fancy press conference.”)
“My rules are I will only wear heels when I do improv,” Nick Kroll, Poehler’s beau, told VF Daily. “Fashion-wise, the last couple years it’s been all heels. Before that, I had a minute where it was, like, ‘I’m only wearing culottes.’”
Kroll, who writes and stars in the FX series The League, recommended pacing one’s alcohol intake before a comedy marathon. “The improv marathon is like a wedding in the Hamptons,” he said. “Tonight’s the rehearsal dinner; people go too hard the first night, they’re a mess at the wedding. And then the brunch on Sunday is just an apology factory because you drank too much at the rehearsal dinner.”
*The Heat’*s Zach Woods doesn’t drink before shows. “I’m such a lightweight, I get belligerent,” he told VF Daily. “My girlfriend gets mad at me because she thinks I’m faking it, but I’m not. I will have half of a Rolling Rock, and then become, like, just shitty. Just real shitty,” he said.
However, Woods does ingest “weird fruit cup” before shows. “In my mind, it keeps my blood sugar up,” the 28-year-old explained. “I’m an old man.”
And what else? “I hate improvising in short sleeves, and I hate wearing shorts, because I have a weird, mantis-like frame, and it makes me self-conscious. If it was socially acceptable to wear a pea coat onstage and a wool hat, I would do it.”