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U is for Upright Citizens Brigade
I mention the UCB here, but credit should also be given to The Groundlings, Second City, and the stand-up world that serves as a continual feeder system for the show’s cast. Lately, you could add “YouTube,” to that, as comedians in a post-“Digital Shorts” world have figured out how to market themselves online in addition to in small clubs. Either way, there’s a lot of work that has to happen before anyone appears on Studio 8H, and “SNL” is deeply tied into all of them.