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Good Comedy Citizens

From left: Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts in their UCB days. From left: Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts in their UCB days.

Since its start as an improv comedy troupe in the ’90s, the Upright Citizens Brigade has grown into an institution with theaters on both coasts and a comedy school renowned for pumping out top talent. On Saturday, the UCB Touring Company — made up of up-and-coming students — will perform two improvised shows at Sixth and I. Not familiar with UCB? Here’s a primer.

Who: Name someone funny. There’s a good chance he or she trained at a UCB school or performed at one of its theaters. UCB grew out of Chicago’s ImprovOlympic, with a core lineup featuring Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts. Performers who’ve come through the UCB Touring Company include Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”), Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) and Ed Helms (“The Office”).

Where: The UCB’s first theater opened in a former strip club in New York in 1999. Today, UCB has two theaters and a training center in the Big Apple, and another theater in Los Angeles. Tickets for UCB shows typically cost $5; some are even free.

What: The Touring Company makes up comedy on the spot, meaning you’re in for a night of long-form improv. The UCB Theaters also host stand-up, storytelling shows, podcasts and improv — pretty much any permutation of being funny on a stage.

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Sat., 7 & 10 p.m., $20-$25; 202-408-3100. (Gallery Place)
Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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