When you think about it, there is a lot that’s funny about Facebook. We who live in the digital age share our most personal and sometimes private moments, thoughts and feelings with our virtual “friends” not usually thinking about what could happen if that information fell into the wrong hands. Hands like those of Paul Scheer, Rob Riggle, Owen Burke (who runs Funny or Die), Seth Morris, Chad Carter, Charlie Sanders, and Rob Huebel. And that is the basic premise of the Facebook show at UCB which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Each week two audience members are randomly plucked from the audience to get their Facebook page examined and then turned into long form improvised comedy scenes based entirely on their profile, pictures, comments and status. Nerdist had the opportunity to witness the hilarity at the UCB location on Sunset Blvd and speak with the cast.
This show has been a long time in the making, beginning as a MySpace show about fifteen years ago, according to Rob Riggle. But as Paul Scheer added, the evolution into Facebook was for many reasons. “MySpace was a lot more self-promotion, like bands… Facebook has been more revealing because a picture will open up a world, like, ‘Oh, I’m a therapist and I fell in love with my patient…’ You find that they don’t even know that they’re telling you stuff like that.”
Riggle added, “The pictures are worth a thousand words obviously because they do open up, just like you said, when Paul and Owen or Chad — when they’re doing the interviews, when they drill down, they always find these amazing photos and then theres always great stories behind them.”
According to the guys, missing Jack McBrayer who is one of the original members of the Facebook team, you meet all kinds of people by asking for audience stories from the slightly disturbed who claim to have seen the devil to a mother who delivered a baby by herself on the 405 freeway. They interviewed a “wiccan, vegan, videogame tester” and the show has been performed across the country in cities like New York, LA, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco and Telluride.
Just like on Facebook, the cast has seen it all from their audiences, which, according to Scheer, can make it challenging to find interview subjects. “I think the worst people to interview are the people who don’t share anything or think that they’re too cool. In the beginning we used to get a lot of cool hipsters drinking sake” or audience members “peeling and eating shrimp in the front row.”
But in the end, Facebook is an improv show and the stories don’t matter all that much anyway, because with improv, there are few rules. Viewer beware when they enter into UCB for this show–because, as Riggle explains, “It could go anywhere, there are no limits to it. It’s definitely R-rated.”
Facebook at UCB in Los Angeles performs weekly with a rotating cast of improvisors. For showtimes and additional information you can visit the UCB Theatre website here.
Images: Wikicommons/ Blair Mitchelmore; Offclouds.com: Troop 41 Productions/Magnet Releasing