Asssscat!Living in Austin and now Chicago you could say that I’ve been a little spoiled when it comes to the improv scene. Visiting small theatres and hole in the wall locations I’ve seen some pretty hilarious antics. From the now-defunct Austin favorite Well Hung Jury to the Chicago staple Second City, there are comedians in this country who’s improvisational skills can blow you away, leaving audiences in fits of laughter and making the impressive “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” look like child’s play. And then there are comedians like the members of “The Upright Citizens Brigade” that make even the best look like they should spend some time honing their craft.

This new hour-long L.A. performance of Assscat! showcases the irreverent hilarity of this group, led by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Robers, and Matt Walsh. Here’s the setup: each show features a guest monologist who takes a suggestion from the crowd and then speaks on the topic for a few brief, but hilarious, minutes. From then on the troupe uses the content of the monologue as fodder for the rest of the show, creating mini comedic episodes that occasionally tie together to form a whole. In the show included on this DVD, Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911”) serves as the guest monologist, discussing medicinal marijuana. This leads to a half hour on drugs and counter culture unparalleled in any improvisational show I’ve ever seen. The speed and target of these performers is mind-blowing and most scenes they create are a head above any written skit you’ve seen on “Saturday Night Live” or other such skit-driven shows.

You may not be familiar with all the names I’m listing here, but rest assured that you’ve seen them before,and if you haven’t you’ve been missing out. This show features Chad Carter, Sean Conroy, Andrew Daly and Horation Sanz, with monologues (in the special features) by Will Arnett, Ed Helms, Jen Kirkman, Paul F. Tompkins, and Kate Walsh. Together, this group of comedians rocks the packed, but relatively small theatre where they perform. It’s the kind of comedy that doesn’t just make you laugh, but makes you realize that all comedy is not created equal. While I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Amy Poehler’s movie cameos (aside from Mean Girls) or her work on “Saturday Night Live,” this DVD has made me a devoted fan and defender of her comedic prowess. The other standout (in a troupe of standouts) is the ingeniously droll Matt Besser.

Special features include an extra 30 minutes of monologues and scenes from other performances, an interview with the four main members of The Upright Citizens Brigade and commentary by the troupe. For anyone that’s looking for a DVD of true solid comedy gold, you should own this right now. This is comedy that is not to be missed.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Seekers of hilarity
Stay Away if: You’re looking for more standard

To purchase The Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat!, visit Amazon

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