Nick Vatterott is a big name in comedy. He’s a working comic who has been around New York City for a while now, working some of its best clubs. I think the consensus is that he hasn’t had his “breakout” moment yet on TV, but he has a huge cult following because he’s awesome. (see more of him on his website)
Yesterday, in frustration with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, he typed out this long Facebook post, which has accumulated upwards of 800 likes and 80 shares in 17 hours. His frustrations with the theater have garnered a lot of support from the stand up community. Everybody seems to be sharing or posting about it today!
If you want the tl;dr on this, Vatterott is upset with how UCB treats stand up comics compared to improvisers. On top of that, he implies that UCB doesn’t even treat improvisers very well – they’re being taken advantage of too. UCB doesn’t pay performers for paid shows and they seem to have done some mean things to Vatterott and other stand ups. To add some context, UCB is essentially THE place for improv and sketch in New York and they’ve expanded to four locations: two in NYC and two in LA. Essentially, if you want to do improv, you kind of have to go through them. But they have comedy shows with all different acts, including stand up. And Vatterott feels like they treat stand ups as outsiders because of that.
I can’t speak to any of this from experience (not being a paid comic) but Vatterott’s words seem to be resonating with other comedians. I was just at UCB in Chelsea earlier this week to see Whiplash, which is one of the best free shows in the city. UCB makes that sort of thing possible, which is great. But, at least from Vatterott’s frustrated comments, it seems like they might not always go about things the right way.
3 thoughts on “Nick Vatterott’s Letter to UCB”
I have a problem with any business that uses an artist without compensation and makes money off it.
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Yeahhh. I get the “We’re giving you exposure” argument, but at a certain point artists need more than just exposure if they’re trying to make a living.
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