It feels like that calm quite moment after a storm. It all seemed to happen so fast. It seems like just yesterday Kurt Metzger began posting is opinions about UCBeasts ‘lets not pay comedians’ routine on his Facebook page. “I don’t know who the f*ck runs UCB but you have tremendous improv balls to charge money for a Friday night show and not pay the comics anything. I would love to meet you in person.” Kurt’s posts seem to be the spark that was all a giant fire needed to start roaring. It was only minutes and hours till numerous comedians within the community jumped up in agreement. Virtually every form of social media became the battlegrounds for the dispute. Comedians such as Dan St. Germain, Sara Schaefer, and Michael Lawrence, to name a few, all rushed to Kurt’s side.
After much Internet bloodshed, it seems UCB has finally waved the white flag, but only on their terms. While there were several possible resolutions, UCB surprised everyone by simply forgetting it all together, literally. All weekend stand-up comedy shows have been dropped. Comedian Nick Turner, host of “If You Build It” (one of the main stand-up shows at UCBeast) took to Facebook to break the news, “Ok, so as a result of the recent UCB mama drama, I will no longer be hosting If You Build It at UCB East. This past Saturday was my last time hosting with the wonderful Miss Kara Klenk… The UCB has decided that they will simply do away with all stand-up shows on the weekends. It’s a bummer but may be the only thing that makes sense. Stand-up is a square peg in the round hole of UCB’s incredibly successful improv business model/philosophy. What works for improv does not necessarily work for Stand Up and there is no shame in recognizing that and refocusing what the UCB East is.”
I have had different opinions on the topic, as one friend of mine said, “What kind of business model involves not paying the talent?” Which is a valid point and is the clear stance of many people around this situation. However, I believe Nick Turner phrased it very well when he said “Stand-up is a square peg in the round hole of UCB’s incredibly successful improv business.” When it comes down to it, UCB is built on the bricks of improv, stand up was only tagging along for the ride. Stand-up comedy and improv will always be side by side in the comedy world, perhaps like siblings, both trying to grow and create their own name. The only question is, will these two ever just get along?