For those who’ve been asking: High-Status Characters is finally on sale at the Kindle store. In coming days, it’ll also be available via iBooks, Google Play, and Kobobooks.com. It’s $1.99, or 199 ass pennies.

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that my Upright Citizens Brigade oral history, High-Status Characters, will be available FREE from today through Sunday at Barnesandnoble.com. All you need is a B&N account and the Nook app—also free—and you’ll be reading it in no time.

High-Status Characters features interviews with nearly 80 UCB alumni and friends, including Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Conan O’Brien, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Seth Meyers, and Ed Helms. I think you’ll like it, but I’m admittedly kinda biased.

Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh at this weekend’s Del Close Marathon. Photo by Anna Silman.

ucbcomedy:

Never Before, Never Again: Behind-the-Scenes of Asssscat

Anyone know where that early-’00s ASSSSCAT footage came from?

IAN ROBERTS: We all met with the artistic director at Second City, and told him we were leaving for New York. He was like, “Yep, everybody thinks they’re gonna get a sketch show, and it never works out. You’re making a big mistake. You’ve got a future here.” And we said, “Well, we’re gonna roll the dice. See ya.”

AMY POEHLER: The four of us come from relatively blue-collar roots, and all of our parents were very supportive of our careers. We didn’t have parents that were like, “What are you doing? You’re wasting your life!” Most of our parents came to our shows and supported us. My dad used to have a UCB license plate.
- From High-Status Characters
(Above: The UCB Four—Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Amy Poehler—at the Toyota Comedy Festival in 1997, shortly after relocating to New York. Photo from Matt Besser’s official website.)

IAN ROBERTS: We all met with the artistic director at Second City, and told him we were leaving for New York. He was like, “Yep, everybody thinks they’re gonna get a sketch show, and it never works out. You’re making a big mistake. You’ve got a future here.” And we said, “Well, we’re gonna roll the dice. See ya.”

AMY POEHLER: The four of us come from relatively blue-collar roots, and all of our parents were very supportive of our careers. We didn’t have parents that were like, “What are you doing? You’re wasting your life!” Most of our parents came to our shows and supported us. My dad used to have a UCB license plate.

- From High-Status Characters

(Above: The UCB Four—Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Amy Poehler—at the Toyota Comedy Festival in 1997, shortly after relocating to New York. Photo from Matt Besser’s official website.)

From the UCB’s original website.

From the UCB’s original website.

A few recent (and very cool) mentions of High-Status Characters in the press:

- The A/V Club adds it to their "What are you reading this month?" list.

- A lengthy Q&A in The Huffington Post

- …and another one in Thin Reads.

A cool find from the UCB’s website: Video of a June 1999 “ASSSSCAT!” show starring the UCB Four—Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts—alongside such performers as Neil Flynn and Miriam Tolan. The monologue, delivered via video, is by Del Close, who’d died just a few months earlier. The clip’s embedding doesn’t seem to be working, but you can find the whole performance here.

A cool find from the UCB’s website: Video of a June 1999 “ASSSSCAT!” show starring the UCB Four—Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts—alongside such performers as Neil Flynn and Miriam Tolan. The monologue, delivered via video, is by Del Close, who’d died just a few months earlier. The clip’s embedding doesn’t seem to be working, but you can find the whole performance here.

AMY POEHLER: When the UCB first started out in New York, we set short-term goals: “In three months, let’s check in and see where we’re at.” It wasn’t about being famous, it was, “Can we do good work, and still get paid for it?” And so we made a couple thousand dollars a week to write, produce, and star in the Comedy Central show, and we were psyched. Not at any moment did I think, “Oh my God, I’m being underpaid.” It was never about the money.

ANDY RICHTER: Amy became the real prize. In the comedy world, a woman that strong and funny is worth ten funny guys. At a certain point, there became a strong pull to get her away from the rest of the group.

AMY POEHLER: Some of us had opportunities to make money, and that would have meant splitting up the group. Every once in a while a sitcom would come up, and because I didn’t do pilot season, I didn’t torture myself by putting myself in the position to get things and then have to turn them down. There was money involved, and at the time, it was big money for me. But I always used to say this to people who were looking to start out: Sometimes people do too many things, get in too many groups, get in too many different shows. Just find the one thing and lean into it.

- From High-Status Characters

(Above: Amy Poehler as excitable cookie-dealer Cassie McMadison on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade show. Photos from the UCB’s original website.)

A 1999 Time Out New York piece on the then-new UCB theater. Note Ian Roberts’ prescient kicker quote.