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Entertainment venues have been struggling since the onset of the pandemic, unable to open for anything but virtual shows since March. Among them is the Upright Citizens Brigade, which announced Wednesday the closure of its Sunset Boulevard theater.
Co-founders Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts shared the news on Instagram, saying they were unable to make mortgage payments during the shutdown. They plan to sell the Sunset Boulevard theater — which opened in late 2014 — while keeping their Franklin Village space and offering online classes.
The group also said they will continue to look for a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant while moving forward with Project Rethink, an initiative to address systemic racism in the improv and comedy industry. They will also continue to work toward becoming a nonprofit.
Financial trouble has been brewing for UCB for some time. In early 2019, the group shut down its East Village location due to high rent and property tax costs. UCB also canceled all shows and classes in New York and L.A. at the onset of the pandemic and, shortly thereafter, laid off all the staff in both cities. In April, it permanently closed its remaining New York City locations, including a theater in Hell’s Kitchen and a training center on 8th Avenue.
UCB’s online courses are listed on its training site, and a recent Zoom panel on disability in comedy is available on YouTube.