The coronavirus has dropped the final curtain on the Upright Citizens Brigade’s New York foothold.
The venerable improv comedy troupe, founded in 1990 by a group including future “Saturday Night Live” stand-out Amy Poehler, reportedly announced Tuesday that both its Hell’s Kitchen theater and its 8th Avenue training center have closed for good.
UCB was already struggling to make sky-high rents at the Manhattan spaces, and closures brought on by the coronavirus proved the final nail in the coffin, the co-founders wrote in an email to the UCB community, according to multiple outlets including Vulture.
“This is devastating to us, but for some time now, even in a normal, robust economy, we have barely been able to pay the high rents in New York City,” the message read in part.
“Given the indefinite shutdown of all theaters and schools in both Los Angeles and New York City and the anticipated slow and uncertain return to normal when restrictions are lifted, we cannot afford to continue on in our New York City leases.”
But while UCB will be without a dedicated space in the Big Apple for the time being, the co-founders vowed to have the last laugh.
“UCB is not leaving New York City. The school and the theater will continue on in a pared-down form, which will be very similar to how we operated when we first started in NYC over 20 years ago,” they wrote.
Performances and classes will continue in venues rented as needed, and the group may one day make a go at having its own space in the five boroughs “if we can find an economically feasible way to do so,” the co-founders wrote.
“We want you to know that our decisions regarding NYC were not made lightly or without careful consideration of the people affected by them,” they wrote. “It will allow us to continue to serve as much of the community as possible, rather than simply to shutter the NYC arm of the organization.”
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