Brad Barket/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It’s the end of the road for a New York City comedy institution as the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, co-founded by Saturday Night Live vet Amy Poehler and Veep’s Matt Walsh, along with Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, was forced to close its doors for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to its members, obtained by Vulture, Poehler, Walsh, Besser and Roberts announced their “heart wrenching, but necessary, decision” to shut down the NYC UCB theater and training center locations.
“This is devastating to us, but for some time now, even in a normal, robust economy, we have barely been able to pay the high rents in New York City,” the lengthy letter continued. “Given the indefinite shutdown of all theaters and schools in both Los Angeles and New York City and the anticipated slow and uncertain return to normal when restrictions are lifted, we cannot afford to continue on in our New York City leases.”
However, while UCB will no longer have a dedicated space in the Big Apple, the troupe vows the school and theater will continue in a “pared-down form” and live on “at various locations across the city that we will rent on a per-class basis.”
“We want you to know that our decisions regarding NYC were not made lightly or without careful consideration of the people affected by them,” they added. “It will allow us to continue to serve as much of the community as possible, rather than simply to shutter the NYC arm of the organization.”
Initially founded as a comedy troupe by Poehler in the early 1990s, the Upright Citizens Brigade, whose alumni include Donald Glover, Kate McKinnon and Aziz Ansari, opened its first New York theater in 1999.
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