Report from the Upright Citizens Brigade: 5 Millennial Trends


Millennials and Generation Z are known to embrace, re-invent and pioneer a multitude of attitudes and behaviors. We see it firsthand at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Our four theaters feature a slew of up-and-coming young performers who develop their voices and professional skills at our training centers. We also utilize this talent to produce content for agencies, brands and media companies, and our touring company performs at colleges nationwide, often getting to know students after the show. Like agencies, we are constantly thinking about our audiences: who they are, what they are thinking and how best to connect with them. Here are five trends our business development and branded content teams have noticed within our own community, and younger communities at large.

Living by Committee

It’s no secret that a personal recommendation is the best recommendation. Young people have taken this to an extreme: advice and recommendations are being crowdsourced among entire groups of friends. Where should I eat? What should I watch? Who knows a good therapist?  Pose a question to your friends and followers, and they’ll all chime in. The most popular or well-reasoned decision is then yours to act upon.

It’s less about what an individual authority recommends (e.g., a columnist) and more about what the crowd, or someone you trust within it, says to do. After all, why struggle through a decision when someone else has already done it for you? Best-case scenario: you get the desired outcome quickly and easily. Worst-case scenario: you get to blame someone else for your mistake.

First Among Friends

Whenever a new movie or album drops, we’re seeing even the most casual of fans rush to watch or listen to that content first. There are few reasons for this. First, people want to get their hot take out there—and being first extends a certain authority and even credit for originality of opinion, no matter how many other people share that opinion down the road. Conversations swirl endlessly around the next big thing, and falling behind in content consumption on the internet can cause anxiety.  

But it’s not just FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The latest movies, books and music videos are a shorthand through which people discuss and interpret current events -- hence the generation of countless memes. If you’re out of the loop, internet conversations can be lonely and confusing.

And, when it comes to TV and movies, no one wants to be the person who says, “Can we not talk about this? I haven’t seen it yet.”

The Second Coming of YOLO

Though the phrase has been popular for at least seven years, the common perception that “the world could end at any moment, so we have to do something fun right away” has given it a new resonance. We’re seeing friends and colleagues more focused on the here and now, as well as doing things that make them happy, in spite of what the future may hold. Less planning, more spontaneity.

One of our team members shared, “None of my friends have retirement accounts—and they are not all comedians.” He continued: “People are more interested in traveling, doing drugs, things they like, because there is a general feeling of, ‘this could all end; our president could get our whole country bombed."

IRL is Back

After years of swiping left and right, the dating app craze finally looks like it’s winding down. After meeting dozens of people who can best be described as “fine, I guess,” most of the people we’re observing have decided to go back to meeting people in real life. If you ask a twenty-something what dating apps they have on their phone, they’ll name two or three before adding, “But I don’t really use them anymore.”

Most people are less and less eager to slog through dozens of okay-but-kinda-boring dates just for the slim chance of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right. The consensus seems to be that it’s better to wait until you just happen to find them through whatever series of unlikely coincidences.

Where Nobody Knows My Name: Anonymous Communities on the Rise

Reddit remains the 4th most visited website in the United States. Discord, a chat client intended for online gamers, has drawn 90 million users as of 2017 with ~1.5 million users per week -- with a growing percentage of the company’s servers being used for non-gaming activities like fandom communities, shared interest groups, “Discord Hangouts” with online personalities, and even stock trading and fantasy football.

The appeal is twofold. First, anonymity frees users from the anxiety over your words or interests falling under the scrutiny of an employer or other IRL connections. Second, the performative nature of Facebook, Instagram and most other popular social media networks is eschewed in favor of genuine interaction with the communities users join into. In other words, you can shoot the shit or have focused conversations rather than fishing for likes and/or retweets.

Deidre Sullivan is the head of brand strategy at Upright Citizens Brigade. She can be reached at

Pilot Kombucha at DCM

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We’re thrilled to announce that Pilot Kombucha is joining us at DCM, our June festival of 700 improv shows over 3 days on 10 stages. Pilot’s founder, Alex Ingalls, is designing our very own DCM Kombucha, a special blend just for the festival. If you’d like to get your brand involved in DCM, let us know:

4A's and Upright Citizens Brigade Partner to Expand Workshop Offerings to 4A's Members

We just announced a partnership with the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) to bring UCB workshops to Madison Avenue.

Here's our press release:

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2018 PRNewswire -- Today, the 4A's and the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) announced a partnership designed to expand and diversify the 4A's workshop offerings to agency members. 

The 4A's will offer its agency members access to a new portfolio of workshops developed and led by UCB, the improv comedy organization founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. The 4A's is UCB's first advertising industry partner.

The workshops will help agency teams engage in faster, more effective brainstorming and, more broadly, help agency professionals get more comfortable thinking on their feet.

New workshop topics include:

"UCB has intimate knowledge of the creative process. The training and workshops they've designed will help our members with the agility they need today," said Margie Parker-Lamparillo, executive vice president of Learning & Development and Partnerships at the 4A's. "We'll continue to partner with groups whose roots are in creativity and creative expression as we continue to elevate our member offerings in L&D."

"We are thrilled to be working with the 4A's," said Deidre Sullivan, director of brand strategy at UCB. "There are many parallels between the worlds of comedy and advertising, particularly around the creative process and having to be responsive to an audience."

4A's members can learn more about these and other workshop programs, available now, here.

About the 4A's
The 4A's, founded in 1917, is the leading authority representing the marketing communications agency business. It provides leadership, advocacy and training that empower agencies to innovate, evolve and grow. It serves 740 member agencies across 1,400 offices that control more than 85 percent of total U.S. advertising spend. The 4A's is committed to protecting the best interests of its members, their employees and the industry at large. Its benefits division insures more than 164,000 agency professionals, and the D.C. office advocates for policies that best support a thriving advertising industry. With its best-in-class learning and career development programs, the 4A's and its foundation fuel a robust diversity pipeline of talent for its members and the marketing and media industry, fostering the next generation of leaders. For more information, please visit

About Upright Citizens Brigade
The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) is the comedy powerhouse founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. Dubbed "the most influential name in improv today" by The New York Times, UCB runs two theaters in New York and two in LA, where audiences enjoy improv and sketch comedy seven nights a week. UCB also operates the only accredited sketch and improv training school in the country, with classroom facilities on both coasts; UCB alumni and instructors include performers and writers for Saturday Night LiveThe Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Key & Peele, VeepSilicon Valley, The Hangover21 Jump Street and more. In addition to classes and live comedy performances, UCB works with brands, ad agencies, media companies and universities; the company also runs a branded content unit/TV production studio, a touring company that performs at theatres and colleges, and a slew of industry-standard improv workshops for corporate training and team building. For more information go to

Rules for UCBIndustries, "Win a Box of Merch" Sweepstakes



Here are the rules for our new “Win a Box of Merch” Sweepstakes.

1. Eligibility: UCBIndustries “Win a Box of Merch” Sweepstakes (the “Promotion”) is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including District of Columbia) who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry.  The Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.  Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Promotion.

2. Sponsor: UCB Industries, 520 Eight Avenue, 12th Floor, NY, NY 10013. 

3. Timing: The Promotion begins on October 20, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time ("ET") and ends on November, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the "Promotion Period").  Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for this Promotion.

4. How to Enter: Follow @UCB industries and retweet. A Follow and a Retweet constitute an entry. For individuals who have already followed, a retweet counts as a second entry.

5. Sweepstakes Prize: TWO (2) GRAND PRIZES: a box of UCB merchandise (t-shirts, etc..)

6. Limit: Each entrant may enter/play one (1) time per day during the Promotion Period.  Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same email address.  Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of plays/entries by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant's plays/entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Use of any automated system to participate is prohibited and will result in disqualification.  In the event of a dispute as to any registration or play, the authorized account holder of the email address used to register will be deemed to be the entrant or player.  The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address.  Potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.

6. Publicity: Except where prohibited, participation in the Promotion constitutes winner’s consent to Sponsor’s and its agents’ use of winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions hometown and state, and/or testimonials, photos, or other feedback related to prize or Promotion experience, for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

7. General Conditions: Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, human error or any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Sweepstakes, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Promotion or to be acting in violation of the Official Rules of this or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.

8. Limitations of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for:  (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Promotion; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries; or (5) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Promotion or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.  If for any reason an entrant's entry or play is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, entrant’s sole remedy is another Sweepstakes entry if possible.  No more than the stated number of prizes will be awarded.

10. Disputes: All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and Sponsor in connection with the Promotion, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Michigan or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.

11. Winner: For a winner announcement go to @UCBIndustries on Twitter.

© 2016 UCB Industries.  All Rights Reserved.


What do some of the freshest comedy writers and performers working today have in common? Many got their start with the UCB Training Center Diversity Scholarship, a program designed to bring new voices into comedy. Established in 2009, the UCB Training Center Diversity Scholarship was created to increase the diversity of races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities at UCB, as well as the number of people over 40, individuals with disabilities, and U.S. military members or veterans. This scholarship is offered through our Training Center, the only accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the country. Since 2009, we have awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships.

The UCB Training Center Diversity Scholarship provides free enrollment in two classes every six months, as well as free admission to UCB shows while students are enrolled in a class. In addition, students have access to periodic workshops in improv and sketch comedy. A fellowship program offers similar benefits, without the financial component, for students who simply have difficulty enrolling in classes due to high demand.

"I'm constantly amazed and delighted by the improv, sketch, and character work that comes from our student body, and having a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and life experiences makes all the scenes richer, more truthful and funnier,” says Erik Tanouye, Diversity Coordinator for UCB. “As a teacher, performer and audience member, I've benefitted from the increasing diversity of our students over the last eight years. The diversity program has been the most meaningful experience of my time managing the school, and I look forward to its continued growth and success in the future."

UCB Training Center Diversity Scholarship recipients have gone on to work on shows all across the industry. Past scholarship recipients include writers and performers on staff at:

●      Arrow

●      Broad City

●      Brooklyn Nine-Nine

●      The Daily Show

●      Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

●      Girl Code

●      Inside Amy Schumer

●      Key & Peele

●      Late Night with Seth Meyers

●      Party Over Here

●      Saturday Night Live

●      The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

●      Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

●      Ghosted

●      New Girl

●      I Love You, America

●      Why? with Hannibal Buress

Interested in learning more, or maybe applying? Follow @UCBclassesNYC on Twitter to get updates about the scholarship, or join our mailing list: