Upright Citizens Brigade members take on annoying couples and disease 

Double Your Pleasure

UCB gets real with shows about cancer and relationships. real funny, that is

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UCB gets real with shows about cancer and relationships. real funny, that is

Fringe favorites the Upright Citizens Brigade return from Chicago for a spate of shows this season. While their tour company will be doing their typical improv thing, audiences can also choose to see a moving two-parter that promises to be just as funny as the regular show. The C Word is Pam Murphy's one-woman show about surviving breast cancer and Baggage is a sketch comedy starring real-life couple Jordan Klepper and Laura Grey that mocks the fun and foibles of a modern-day relationship.

In The C Word, Murphy shows how funny cancer can be — in fact, it was voted Best Solo Show of 2011 by Time Out New York. Over the course of her show, Murphy pokes fun at breast reconstruction, dating, and the audacity of people that tell her "cancer will make her a better person."

"What, like I wasn't a good person before?" she laughs. Now a survivor, Murphy has managed to piece together a touching and funny 30-minute show from her experience that includes moments like going on a blind date post-treatment. "I met this guy and the first thing he did was look at my chest," Murphy says. In her show she takes this awkward moment and expands it into a riff on "how you tell a date you have cancer." Survivor or not, anyone can appreciate the humor.

With Baggage, Klepper and Grey explore themes that might be familiar to typical audience members.

"If you've ever run out of things to say to someone that you truly love, and you just sit there at the table, staring ahead blankly, well, we do a scene about that," Klepper says of Baggage. Misery loves company, I presume. That and, he adds, "Also, you can talk about that scene after the show, and thus break the deafening silence within your relationship, at least for a moment."

Hey, it's cheaper than a ticket to Dr. Phil.

Plus, Klepper says, "If that doesn't ring a bell, we also play people stuck in a cult, talk about dolphins, and use the term mucus in a sexy way."

Grey says the show is an example of just how annoying love can be.

"The show is pulled entirely from my hateful experiences and observations of Jordan ... he just doesn't know it yet," Grey says.

Klepper adds, "And I use this show to vent all of my unspoken feelings about Laura in a room full of strangers."

They kid.

"In all seriousness ... I think we pulled from our own experiences, as well as being inspired by other couples that we know," Klepper says. "We tried to heighten some of the traits that we found funny, whether it was obsessions we had had, or funny blind spots in relationships that either we shared or knew friends of ours had as well. Some couples are 'annoying' together, and some couples are 'annoying' to each other. We liked playing around with both situations."

The UCB Double Feature has it all: Two shows that examine feelings, two people annoyingly in love, and two brave boobies — one of which may or may not have a tattooed areola.

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