Team Brooklyn

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A longform improv team of UCBT Harold Team members who lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They were active from about December 2002 through December 2004. They anchored a weekly show of UCBT teams in Williamsbug for about a year, playing deliberately high-energy, sloppy improv that gained a decent following before they disbanded because everyone got busy.

Contents

Cast

Will Becton, Jeff Campbell, Brian Finkelstein, Will Hines, Mark-Sam Rosenthal and Charlie Sanders. Ed Helms was a founding member but quit after two shows because he got on The Daily Show and became famous.

First Shows

The UCBT booked a run of monthly shows called Coldcocked at a bar called Galapagos, a Williamsburg hot spot. The shows would feature Harold Teams and weekend teams. To anchor the show, artistic director Kevin Mullaney asked all Harold Team members who lived in Williamsburg to form a team -- to give the show a local hook. He gave the starter name Team Brooklyn which no one on the team cared to change.

Galapagos' performance space was a cavernous room without mikes. Most Harold teams' first shows were too quiet. Observing this, Team Brooklyn went on last and performed a La Ronde at overly full volume. Tag outs occurred at a rate of every five lines. The show went over surprisingly and probably undeservedly well.

Charlie Pineapple Theater

After a few shows at Galapagos, the UCBT moved Coldcocked to a theater on North 8th street called The Charlie Pineapple Theater. Formerly a plumbing supply store, the layout of the theater was absurdly long and narrow. The audience comprised just four rows with over 30 seats in each.

The UCBT used the now weekly Coldcocked to gives its more inexperienced teams more shows to find their feet. But Team Brooklyn closed each show. The team enjoyed the shows so much that members would aggressively flyer at the Bedford/North 7th street stop on the day of the show. Much to their amazement, flyering in Williamsburg worked, perhaps because people at the subway stopped invariably lived nearby and would come to a show that was right down the block.

Some UCBT Harold Teams had some of their finest shows at this theater, perhaps because of the loose atmosphere. Neutrino, Police Chief Rumble and Monkeydick had shows at this time which captured their respective craziness in a way that made great shows. Other teams saw Coldcocked as an annoying obligation.

For a time, UCBT's Harold Night was on Thursday and Coldcocked on Tuesday. When UCBT moved Harold Night to Tuesdays, teams became agitated to truck out to Brooklyn to perform when their friends' teams were performing at the same time at Harold Night.

Team Brooklyn and UCBT tried many things to capitalize and expand on the show's success. They invited stand-ups to perform, with mixed success. Eventually Al Long was chosen as permanent host.

Other Venues

A night of raucous socializing on the street prompted noise complaints which led to a fire code violation which got Charlie Pineapple shut down. Coldcocked moved to North Six for a few shows. Acoustics were rough in the larger space, but the show held together.

Team Brooklyn started looking for alternate venues. One show was at the Brooklyn Brewery which was even more echo-filled than the other places. Only the shoutiest of improv teams could survive.

Charlie Pineapple Two

Charlie Pineapple reopened its doors two avenues deeper into Williamsburg. Although the space was no less or more strange than the original, shows at this theater were surprisingly muted. Audiences were smaller. Team Brooklyn was starting to bicker, perhaps tired after months of flyering and extra shows.

After a few months, Team Brooklyn called Coldcocked and itself quits. Harold teams were likely relieved.

There was a brief attempt to revive Team Brooklyn at the bar Trash on Grand Street, but no one could get their shit together.

The Catskills

During the New York City blackout of August 2003, Team Brooklyn traveled to the Catskills where Will Becton had booked them at a hippie hotel for a gig. Colton Dunn was the host and guest improviser. The team was paid in beer and became exceedingly drunk. The show initially had zero audience members, until the team got people from the bar come and watch. All audience members were parents who had children in a local Irish dance exhibition the next day. They loved it.

Quality of Play

Team Brooklyn often embraced its sloppy play, but sometimes would try to step up and perform like grownups. For one show, they said "let's not play blue tonight." That set ended with Finkelstein as Jesus giving Charlie Sanders as Buddha a blow job.

Lucky

Gabrielle Bell an indie comics artist who lives in Williamsburg has published a few volumes of her semi-fictionalized autobiographical comics diary in volumes called "Lucky." Her first entry of her first volume involved going to a Team Brooklyn show. We know this because the week after that show, she approached Will Hines at Mama Rosa's and showed him her sketchbook with her account of going to the show. The following year, Hines saw that same page in Barnes and Noble.

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