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Series / Upright Citizens Brigade

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Clockwise from top left: Agents Adair (Matt Besser), Antoine (Ian Roberts), Trotter (Matt Walsh) and Colby (Amy Poehler).
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Upright Citizens Brigade is an American sketch comedy television series that aired on Comedy Central from 1998 to 2000 for three seasons. The series featured four members of Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisational sketch comedy group. The cast included Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh.

The show's framing device is that Agents Adair (Besser), Colby (Poehler), Antoine (Roberts) and Trotter (Walsh) are agents for a nebulous organization that both monitor and create chaos across the world, and that the sketches seen throughout most of the show are different subjects being monitored.

The cast would later reunite for another series of a similar format, The UCB Show, that ran from 2015 to 2017 on the suscription streaming service Seeso.


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This series features examples of:

  • Brown Note: There were sketches involving the "Bucket of Truth", a plastic bucket which would supposedly force anyone who looked into it to face some undefined, horrifying truth, driving them to the Despair Event Horizon (and thus lowering the price of a home that included it); the only one immune to its insanity-creating effect was a detective who was already far past the horizon, and his reaction was "Don't you think I know that!?!"
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: An episode used a variation of this by claiming that they had succeeded in creating a batch of mind-numbingly unbearable commercials, then pressing play and treating the actual commercials as the ones they were referring to. It was claimed before each subsequent break that an even worse batch than the last one was cued up to play.
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  • Duels Decide Everything: A third season episode centered on a small town which solved their disputes with log-rolling contests, from "Peanut Butter vs. Jelly" up to "Good vs. Evil."
  • Eyepatch of Power: Antoine wears and eyepatch, fitting the overall bizarre aspect of the group.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Trotter only wears half a pair of glasses.
  • For the Evulz: While their "evil" might be questionable, the show's voiceover states that the agents' mission is "to find chaos where it exists, and create chaos where it does not."
  • Gag Penis: The Season 1 finale was dedicated to a mock telethon for the "Little Donny Foundation", raising money for a young boy with an enormous (mosaic'ed) penis, of which he's unaware. Essentially 30 minutes of this trope, but played completely deadpan.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: A house has a "Bucket of Truth" in it that shows immutable truth; most people are driven to absolute despair by the sights within. A police captain who has been wallowing in despair looks into the bucket and shouts at the heavens, "Don't you think I know that?!"
  • Humanity Is Superior: They once eloquently stated, "Humans RULE! Dolphins can SUCK IT!"
    "No way, dolphins! You'll never get our jeans!"
  • Misfortune Cookie: An episode featured a skit where a group of friends were adding "... in bed" to the end of all their fortunes for giggles. One guy kept drawing fortunes which sounded bad enough without the suffix; even switching cookies with one of the others at the last minute didn't help him out.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: One episode included a sketch at a town hall meeting where one concerned mother (Colby/Amy Poehler) wanted the issue of dolphin-centric questions on the SATs addressed. She reads several examples of questions involving detailed knowledge of marine life and species and argues that it wasn't fair to human children. Eventually they bring in a dolphin in a tank with a dolphin-to-human translator device, and he proceeds to insult all of them with some really filthy smack talk. The hidden-camera bit they did while the credits played for that episode had Poehler in character as the mother bringing this up and reading similar sample questions at an actual town's town hall meeting, much to their confusion.
  • Seen It All: Played with. One episode featured an ongoing thread in which various couples keep looking at a great house for sale, only to be driven mad after looking into the Bucket of Truth! Another plot thread involved a grizzled Defective Detective. When his case eventually brings him to the house he looks in the bucket, looks up at the sky and yells "Don't you think I know that?!"
  • Senseless Phagia: One episode featured a sketch where one man claimed that color-blindness was the reason his niece couldn't tell the difference between a juicy, delicious apple and a raw, slimy pig anus. An audience member is incredulous of the claim, insisting there is something far more serious wrong with the girl if she really can't tell the difference. The first man offers him a chance to experience simulated color-blindness with a special pair of glasses and then offers him a choice of two clear ziploc bags (one with apples, the other with pig anuses):
    Skeptical Man: (reaching into the pig anus bag) Oh yeah, that's an apple! … OH GOD I WAS WRONG!
  • "Shaggy Frog" Story: The episode "The Story of the Toad" features the titular story about a toad … who left bread crumbs in the forrest so he could find his way back … and then runs into one of his friends, Harry the Hornless Unicorn.
  • Shout-Out: Antoine looks very similar to James Bond villains Emilio Largo and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, wearing the eyepatch of the former and the signature dueling scar of the latter. The fact that one of theis sketches is actually named "Thunderball" (ostensibly about a Blood Sport version of baseball), which is also the name of the book and the film in which both characters appear, seems to indicate this was intentional.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: One episode features Captain Lunatic, a police detective who constantly does this. At the end of the episode, he gazes into the Bucket of Truth, which has sent everybody else who's looked in it running away screaming, then looks up at the heavens and shouts, "Don't you think I know that?!"
  • The Smurfette Principle: Colby is the sole female of the four-person ensemble.
  • Title Drop: Parodied when a man tells a video store clerk that he had the title line in Star Wars. The man claims that, in a scene that was cut in the final release, he wanders into the Millennium Falcon for no good reason, says, "I'm just so tired of all these star wars," and walks out. He does the same for Out of Africa.
  • Toasted Buns: At least discussed in the episode "The Story of the Toad", in which Antoine asks two prostitutes, "Hey... How would you ladies like to make love while wearing a jetpack?" but then cautions, "We can't do it doggy style though, you'll set me on fire."
  • X on a Stick: A sketch suggests the efficiency of using dog poo on a stick as a weapon.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Colby is a brunette but has blue streaks in her hair.

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