The Stepfathers Are Gods of Improv Comedy

This week, we’re bringing you video interviews with some of the most respected names in New York comedy. While many think of comedy shows as cheesy affairs featuring lame stand-up comics and two-drink minimums, a new crowd of performers are changing the game by hosting their own shows to showcase their own talents as well as those of their friends, colleagues, and heroes. Today, we check in with Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff of Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre’s The Stepfathers. 

One of the highest achievements in improv comedy is being on a weekend house team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. When you’re billed as a "supergroup of improv veterans" like The Stepfathers, the stakes are even higher. Unlike other popular shows at UCB that begin with an interview of an audience member based around a theme (family, hometown, crime, roommates, etc.) to draw on, The Stepfathers waste no time getting their one word suggestion and it’s pure free-association right out of the gate.

The most recognizable face might be Zach Woods, who plays Gabe on The Office, but he is hardly the senior member of this formidably intelligent group. Michael Delaney, Chris Gethard, Will Hines, Connor Ratliff, Sivija Ozols, Andy Secunda, and Shannon O’Neill qualify as improv royalty, but at this level, egos and scene-stealing are not a concern. Delaney, an improv sage if there ever was one, stresses that playing honest and making your partners look good is the ethic. 

Improvisers always talk about "A-to-C" reasoning (as opposed to "A-to-B"), meaning they jump off one topic and bypass the most obvious connection to get somewhere interesting. The Stepfathers’ cerebral approach makes this look effortless as they weave scenes together, in and out of various games they set up at the beginning.

You’ll experience a hilarious, fast, and loose show and probably leave wondering, "How the hell did they do that?" The Stepfathers perform every Friday at nine, but you’ll have to reserve your tickets by Wednesday or Thursday because they always sell out.

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