Improv comedy can be a funny business. Keaton Patti has been traveling with TourCo, the touring arm of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) for six months now, seeing the world and making fun of it.
"We were in Montana last weekend [at] this ski resort where we were playing. But none of us had ever skied or snowboarded," Patti says, describing the rigors of life on the road. "And so we'd just ride the chair lifts up and down just to check out the mountain. And people would look at us. And they'd ask, 'What are you doing here? You don't even have skis.' It was awkward."
Patti's an English major who wanted to take a shot at standup comedy. While living in Pittsburgh and working out his routines he dropped in on an Improv Jam — "Like open mic night for improv" — and his life took a turn. Patti liked the teamwork and the community. "In standup, you're just focused on your set," he says. So he moved to New York to study and work with the Upright Citizens Brigade, the bicoastal troupe and improv school known for launching the careers of artists like Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz.
The UCB's company shouldn't need any skis when they dock at the Buckman this week to perform a longform show broken into two distinct parts. In the first half, an audience member is interviewed, and his or her story becomes the basis for the improvisation. "The second half is even more organic," Patti says. "We take three text messages from the audience."