Cops & Robbers

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Cops & Robbers was a 600 level class, created and directed by Erik Tanouye, that performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in the fall of 2009.

Original promo:

Cops And Robbers is a fully improvised crime saga based on the life of an audience member. See hoodlums, thugs, and thieves wreak havoc, flaunt the law, and terrorize the life of John Q. Public. Then ride along with the police as they clean up the mess and try to put bracelets on the bad guys.

Crime is the disease. Hilarious comedy is the cure.


Nathaniel Bates, Keith Bethea, Joanna Borns, Jaime Castillo, Alex Charak, Kevin Cragg, Don Fanelli, Kim Ferguson, Noah Forman, Nat Freedberg, Laura Garrison, Rob Michael Hugel, Jesse Lee, Josh Patten, Zack Phillips & Jess Wyant.


The show was one continuous 50 - 55 minute performance, consisting of two loose Harolds, that took place in the same world. The cast was divided into two groups: Cops and Robbers. The Robbers would open on stage and one member would select someone from the audience and interview them. Questions were based on where the person grew up.

The Robbers would then start off trying to plan some sort of a crime. Beats and group games were more focused on playing genre, interview, and organic games, and less focused on plot, although it was important for everyone to agree on what crime was to be committed in the first beat or two.

The 2 group games of the Robber Harold were performed by the Cops, who were seated on the sides of the stage. After 3 or 4 scenes, the Cops would get up from their seats and edit to start their group game.

The "3rd Beat" of the Robber Harold was the actual committing of the crime. At the blackout, the Robbers left the stage, and the Cops opened up on the crime scene. Dead bodies were left on stage.

The Cop Harold would consist of solving the crime, but more importantly playing established or new genre, interview and organic games. The Cop Harold group games were performed by the Robbers.

The show usually concluded with the solving of the crime.


The most popular type of genre played by the Robbers was the Ocean's 11 heist, where a team of specialists would get back together and use their individual skills to commit the crime. Cops would often choose the Buddy Cop genre, filled with unlikely partners, crazy commissioners, and good cop/bad cop interrogations. However, in class, genres represented ranged from Film Noir to Futuristic. The class even experimented with a Evente/Harold combo, where the show opened with the crime and subsequent details were discovered in the proceeding scenes. The two group games were still preformed by the Cops, but as in the Evente, the original crime scene was revisited with the added information.


One week prior to their run at UCB, this group performed a condensed version of their form at the Creek in Long Island City as practice. Wishing not to undercut their UCB debut, they chose to play under the pseudonym "Jesse Lee and the Crackrobats", a name they've since adopted for use when playing outside of UCB theater.

Promotional Posters

Awesome promotional posters were created by Keith Bethea.