Interview with Matt Besser

Matt Besser is one of the founder members of the sketch comedy group “Upright Citizens Brigade” and the star of its TV series on Central Central. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about this UCB theaters and his upcoming projects.

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Mike Gencarelli: Out of the sketches from TV series, “Upright Citizens Brigade”, do you have a favorite?
Matt Besser: I really enjoyed doing the ‘Little Donny’ episode. That was an idea before we had before the show even started. It came from a one-liner on a piece of paper about a little boy that had this enormous penis. But he had this disease that he couldn’t be aware of it. Eventually it became a 30 minute show and we are really proud of it. It is the longest and biggest dick joke ever told.

MG: Any word from the Guinness Book of World Records?
MB: I am not sure why the Guinness Book doesn’t recognize us more.

MG: Do you plan on any expansion for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre?
MB: Well besides the moon, that is our long term goal. We have flirted with the middle of America. I do not think we will ever do Chicago because they already have improv taken care of. We have talked about Austin or Atlanta. We are going to open up a new theater in Alphabet City, which will our second theater in New York. That will be our newest project.

MG: Starting up off four people in your group UCB, how many members would you say you have now?At each theater?
MB: Probably about 300 people at each theater. Sketch groups is what we like to call it. We are the 600 person ensemble.

MG: Tell us about the film “Wild Girls Gone” and why it remained unreleased so long?
MB: We made the film on the fly…guerrilla style. We were under the impression that we were doing everything legally but it ended up we weren’t. it took us a couple of years to get everything legal with the unions. It was a lot of fun. It was a full improvised movie and the originally four members of UCB were in it. We also got a lot of the people from our theater in it. It is kind of exciting how illegal it was [laughs]. When we did scenes about breaking into a motel…we were really breaking into a motel.

MG: Do you have any new UCB movies upcoming?
MB: We just made a new movie that has been on the up and up called “Freak Dance”. It was based on a musical we had a stage for a couple of years at the UCB Theater. It was so popular we made it into a movie. It is a parody of all the dance movies. We got a lot of legitimate dance crews from “America’s Best Dance Crew” from MTV. There is a lot of real dancing in the movie plus a lot of the comedians from the theater.

MG: So do you enjoy directing that film?
MB: I love directing. I co-directed “Freak Dance” with a guy, Neil Mahoney. He is more a classic director. He knows what to do with the camera to make everything look great…he is like the vision. I was more the director to the actors. We split our duties that way. I really do enjoy directing comedy acting. It was a written movie, but were definitely was some great moments of improv.

MG: Why do you think that “Upright Citizens Brigade” season 3 was never released on DVD?
MB: Every season just takes such a long time to be released. It is always a battle with them. It is not up to us…they own it. We look forward to it…one day.

MG: When are we going to see more of “This Show Will Get You High”?
MB: The best place to see it is at As far as it is being on Comedy Central again, it is possible that it will be back on 4/20/11. But it is not going to be a series.

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MB: Besides getting “Freak Dance” into a festival, which is our next goal. I do this weekly show called “The Back Room”. It is on every Thursday at 7pm PST. It is a pretty cool show because I do it from my garage. I interview people and they are always doing characters. Yowie has this interacting thing that the viewers can chat with us via web cam. So we have people from all over the world chatting with us. It is really cool, so definitely check it out!

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