I love attending improv and sketch comedy shows on a night off. In NYC there are two big names and those would be UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) and The Pit (Peoples Improv Theatre). I have only taken improv classes at UCB so I don’t feel like I can compare the two when it comes to where you should sign up for classes. SInce I am a huge improv fan I have attended many a show at both venues and I have enjoyed every single show I have seen so far. UCB definitely has a reputation and is known by more people than The Pit. Most of my non-actor friends have never even heard of The Pit. To be honest, the first time I went to The Pit a friend dragged me there and I am still thankful.
The biggest difference for me would be the venue lay-out. When you want to see a UCB show you have to line-up outside (Reservations left, non-reservations right). If you haven’t made a reservation there’s a big chance you won’t get in even after lining up and waiting for an hour.
There are no assigned seats so if you want to find a good seat make sure you don’t show up late and end up all the way at the back of the line.
If you want to see a show at The Pit you don’t have to make a reservation. There’s a bar area where you can wait for the show to starts and get your drink on. Since The Pit is not as popular (in my opinion) as UCB you don’t have to wait in line and the overall experience is a bit more pleasant than waiting outside.
Having said this, the ticket prices are not the same either. The shows I’ve been to at UCB have all cost me $5 whereas shows at The Pit set you back $10 (The pit does offer a Super Free Monday Show).
Quality wise I would say it’s a matter of opinion. My opinion is that the quality at UCB is a tad better but the fact that you can relax and have a drink before a show at The Pit ensures my frequent returns there too.
Overall, both shows are hilarious, funny and worth spending your money and time on.
The Pit would be more appropriate for people who have trouble standing and on rainy days but UCB is more appropriate for the money-conscious and improv pro’s.
They both have nightly shows but remember to reserve a ticket online if you want a UCB show.
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