Meeting Amy Poehler (and other reasons UCB made today awesome)

  1. So I've fallen into a Sunday routine lately
    Lately being the last five months since my roommate got a boyfriend, and is as a result never home on weekends during the day.
  2. Sundays are: sleep late, write all day, don't leave the apartment or interact with anyone....until it's time to get in line for improv
  3. The Upright Citizen's Brigade @ucbcomedy theater in LA does a free Assscat show every Sunday with their top performers.
    I've been going for much longer than five months, but in that time I've really started to rarely miss one. Sometimes friends meet me, sometimes not: if I go alone, I sit in line and listen to podcasts, just generally relaxing my brain after a day of writing.
  4. I love Assscat, always. Guaranteed two hours (ish) of laughing so hard my face hurts.
    I recognize all the rotating performers now: Zach Woods is my favorite, and he's been there consistently all summer. #blessed
  5. I've gone with one or two friends the last few weeks, and we've made an excellent addition to the Sunday routine: late dinner at Shake Shack after.
    It's all a perfect way to end a weekend.
  6. All this to say: I've got my UCB routine down. It's a consistent event. Rarely any surprises.
  7. Today, there was going to be a bigger group than normal. Five of my friends were down to join.
  8. Still, I got there first: it means waiting an hour and a half in line, but the front of the line, right outside the theater, is in the shade. Worth it.
  9. There was a general notice on the gate that by entering, we might be filmed. I first assumed this meant in the theater, but then spotted the cameras outside.
    My first thought, honestly, was that I'd fucked up and talked everyone into Assscat on a day there WAS no Assscat; they'd been closed a few weekends early in the month to shoot The UCB show. I checked my phone before I went in, was relieved to see the show was apparently scheduled as usual.
  10. I was about six people deep in line: my sweet spot. I sat down in the shade, against the building, leaving some space on either side of me so my group could fill in.
    Saving spots is no big deal at UCB, in my experience, but it still stresses out my social anxiety brain and makes me feel rude. I turned on an episode of Comedy Bang Bang and texted everyone to make sure they were en route.
  11. Soon, my friends started showing up: three of the five, anyway. We wondered about the cameras but didn't think much of it.
  12. Then, the three male founders of UCB came outside: Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts.
    Always very cool - especially Matt Walsh, whom I love on Veep - but seeing them wasn't a new experience: Besser performs in Assscat fairly often, and I've seen all three of the guys perform a handful of times.
  13. Still, a part of me had started to wonder....was Poehler coming? Would we maybe get a glimpse?
    They were obviously filming something for The UCB show. It would make sense.
  14. I've been in LA for four years, and I'm used to celeb sightings at this point.
    Just the other night I stood behind James Marsden at a 7/11. I've seen him before, he must live in our area, but the randomness of that location amused me. I have a major soft spot for him because of 30 Rock, so it was nice to see how sweet he was to a girl who came in as he was checking out just to ask for a photo (he cheerfully obliged)
  15. But Poehler is one of the Big Ones.
    Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph....probably my holy square of ladies I've loved the longest and deepest. Like, loved in a way that feels personal? That feels like they've been right there with me as I've grown up.
  16. I attended a Parks and Rec Paley panel a few years ago, had terrible balcony seats and was mainly watching Amy's face projected on the screen, and I still felt like I was basking in her presence.
  17. So a glimpse of her closer up, maybe even see her in the show....that kind of basking would be a spiritual experience.
  18. But like I said, I could only see the three guys, so I avoided getting my hopes up and didn't mention the possibility to the others.
  19. Then I got this text from Albert, a friend who was running late to meet us, but is the most keyed into the improv community and knows people who volunteer in the theater
  20. His "Sssshhh" was obviously a meaningless attempt to pretend like he's in on confidential info, because two minutes later, Amy Poehler came out and joined the others
  21. AMY POEHLER
  22. LESLIE KNOPE
  23. HUMAN SUNSHINE
  24. WAS TEN FEET AWAY FROM ME
  25. I think I said "oh fuck" out loud when she appeared
  26. See above to recall: I'm not a newb. I go to a lot of Q&As at movie theaters. I've seen people I love excessively. Bill Hader. Mindy Kaling. Lena Headey. Kathryn Hahn.
  27. But something about it being AMY POEHLER and it being so unexpected and at a place I feel so familiar with - Amy Poehler just waltzing into my favorite weekly ritual - felt like A Lot.
    It was also less formal than a q&a or script reading, in spite of the cameras
  28. I texted Albert back in a panic, confirming her presence. I texted my friend Dawn, who has been "en route" to meet us ten minutes ago, just the words: AMY POEHLER. Couldn't manage more.
    Her response: OMFG
  29. And then one of the crew members gathered around the camera made a general announcement to the crowd that "The UCB Four" would be coming around to chat with us on camera.
  30. AMY POEHLER WAS GOING TO BE SAYING WORDS TO ME
    DIRECTLY
  31. AND ONLY THEN DID I REALIZE I WAS WEARING AN OLD SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE SHIRT
  32. LIKE SOME KINDA NERD
  33. There were only two groups ahead of us in line, and The UCB Four were already talking to the first one.
  34. We would have our turn very soon.
  35. Amy POEHLER was going to say words directed at me and a camera would capture it all.
  36. My brain was having a heart attack.
  37. The wait for them to interview the two groups ahead of us was hilarious and excruciating.
    We were like people in over the top sitcom scenes who forget how we usually stand and what we do with our hands. There was no way to act casual.
  38. I couldn't wait for this to happen and also I was dreading it. I don't like audience questions. I never participate. And this time these guys were gonna be two feet away and holding a mic at me.
  39. INCLUDING AMY POEHLER
    And Mike McClintock!!!
  40. But anyway our time came and suddenly it was just this four on four conversation circle like we were just pals chilling.
    Except they were them and we were us and there was a camera and a makeup person came over to touch up Amy's face like a foot away from me and she smiled and said "Sorry guys" and we had our first instance of purposeful eye contact
  41. Fortunately, my Out of Body Experience chose that moment to kick in, and so when the interview started, I behaved like a perfectly normal human having a normal human interaction.
    Fola actually said afterwards that I was the smoothest one, which I believe, because I was running on pure autopilot. My consciousness was hovering above, thinking about how the history of my love for SNL and Parks and Rec and Yes Please and Sisters had just led me to this moment.
  42. They asked where we were from, then guessed that we all had gone to college (since we're from NC, Ian immediately guessed UNC and was pleased he was correct)
  43. They asked some questions about what makes comedy funny and if there are any celebrities we get told we look like.
  44. Matt Besser told Alaina she looks like Maria Bamford
    But people are always telling Alaina she looks like various famous blondes...she could've given an extensive answer to their question, but apparently couldn't summon the list of her supposed doppelgänger in the face of her love for Poehler and her low key Matt Walsh crush
  45. Then Matt Walsh noticed my SNL shirt and pointed it out: "Hey, Amy was on that show!"
  46. Amy: *laughs* *smiles* Oh, yeah, I was.
  47. Matt: So that's a connection you two have.
  48. Me: What a coincidence.
  49. Amy: *smiles at me with purposeful eye contact again*
  50. So then my out of body experience ended and my soul, having reached a new plane of enlightenment, returned to my body.
  51. Little more general friendly chatting, and then they thanked us and moved on.
  52. We were handed release forms and had to get our photo taken.
    I can only imagine that photo captures a daze of pure joy. Like if Icarus had lived in spite of being so close to the sun.
  53. I was immediately seized with the need to text everyone I've ever known in my life.
    A new sensation post-celeb encounter. Usually, I'll text if I know someone who particularly loves the person I've seen. But as far as I know, everyone loves Amy Poehler.
  54. I even texted my parents, across the country on the east coast, as if reporting on something I'd accomplished.
    Real talk, though, the fact that I was able to just say "I met Amy Poehler, no big" without having to remind them who that is (no "the blonde in Parks and Rec?") shows how central she has been in my life. They rarely know names.
  55. I also texted Albert, who I hope has learned a lesson about showing up late to Assscat because he knows I faithfully get there early and hold the spot. Texts indicate he has:
  56. A friend of a friend was actually in the crowd gathering nearby, and nicely took a photo of us during out interview. It's not the best shot (no faces for me or Alaina) but it proves it happened
  57. We were all on our phones spreading the news, not even speaking to each other for a good two minutes. It was pretty comical. Took us about fifteen minutes to shake off the adrenaline and start lamenting that we weren't funny enough.
    This was for, as I said, The UCB Show on seeso, and I can't imagine what material we could've provided that would make the cut
  58. I couldn't resist snapping some more photos while we were still in close proximity.
  59. In this one, Amy has clearly spotted what I'm doing, and is giving me the kind of fond smirk one would give their new best friend (right??)
  60. Turns out they were also shooting a few pick ups and introductions of sketches (that already been filmed) inside the theater when we all finally got inside and seated, putting off the start of Assscat to get it done.
  61. It wasn't bad at all, about half an hour of applauding when we were told while they stood in the middle aisle and read cue cards.
  62. Everyone moved pretty quickly and efficiently, just trying to get it done, but Amy in particular was being absolutely lovely: every few minutes she'd make a joke or comment for the audience's benefit, injecting life into the proceedings.
    And keeping us basking in her presence of course.
  63. I was a little disappointed she didn't stay for improv (though The Matts did), but it had already been a completely unexpected surprise, so no need to get greedy.
    My Amy Poehler cup already runneth over, etc
  64. And on top of that I still got to see the usual show, so often the best few hours of my week.
    Zach Woods was there, always a delight, but everyone there was someone I'd seen at least several times before and love.
  65. We all went to Shake Shack after, still high on the unexpected parts of the day, congratulating ourselves on living in Los Angeles where things like that happen, and watching gleefully while our social media posts blew up with jealousy.
  66. I've been thinking so much lately about how much I love Los Angeles and how many worlds it holds if you know where to look.
  67. The Film Nerd World's been my niche for the past four years: Q&As after indie movies on their opening weekend, live readings of unmade scripts, nostalgia laced movies playing at the cemetery or in parks or on rooftops for the lengthy five months that feel like summer.
    Just last weekend we went to All Night movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, and Crybaby. We only stayed for the first two, but absolutely killed it on the dance floor in between (80's music only). In two weeks, we're seeing Bridesmaids in a park (and the audience BETTER dance to Hold On)
  68. But lately I've been getting into the improv scene. Assscat is a staple, but I go to two or three other official UCB shows a week now.
    Alberts three levels into the classes, and has his own troupes, so I see those shows too.
  69. I love what a community it is: We usually kill time before shows at a bar next door to UCB, and Albert always sees people he knows, like the proximity to the theater has turned this street into a small town...a small town where you also spot improv performers who write for popular comedy shows, or people you recognize from recurring sitcom roles.
  70. I've been toying with the idea of taking a UCB improv class myself lately, just for fun, just to try something that scares me. And maybe also to immerse myself a little further into the world, see if I fit.
  71. And today didn't really have anything to do with that, other than I love that place and everything Amy Poehler and the others built there. And even when I'm just in the audience, I love being a tiny part of things, feeling just a little bit like it's My Place.
  72. It makes me so happy that I get to go there every Sunday and laugh; no matter what else has gone on during the week, Assscat is waiting for me at the end of it.