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Tucson Weekly Citizen Alert

MAY 24, 1999:  Last week, we received a bulletin announcing the opening of the Star Wars Depression Center. "Staffed by trained psychiatric counselors," the release explained, "the Star Wars Depression Center exists to soothe the anguish moviegoers may suffer in association with the release of the sci-fi prequel."

As a spokesperson for the center explains, "This is the most highly anticipated film ever, and with that comes the extreme potential for what we call 'Cinematic Letdown Trauma,' or CLT. Moviegoers tend to experience CLT every summer, but after waiting almost two decades for a new Star Wars, we're especially worried. That's why we're putting therapists on-call."

Haven't seen Phantom Menace yet? Well, that's okay, because you're encouraged to seek help before you even see the film. "Our therapists can help calm the rage theater owners may experience if they won't be allowed to show the film," the spokesman continued. "We can help ease the shame some fans may feel by not knowing crucial trivia. If certain moviegoers are really hurting, we're allowed to plan them a medicinal treatment of other sci-fi blockbusters. We're ready to help end all kinds of Star Wars-related pain."

The brains behind the center? None other than the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), the irreverent sketch comics who premiered last year on Comedy Central. The four-member troupe is 21st-century Monty Python, without the English accents or silly walks. They smoothly handle multiple roles in every show, shaping an astonishing range of characters and happily cross-dressing into a collection of very unattractive women.

Those who haven't seen UCB's first season (currently in repeats on Sunday nights on the Comedy Central cable station) have missed a bizarre but brilliant collection of comedy bits that skewer pop culture, corporate America, sexuality, religion, racial stereotypes, frat boys, clones, cyborgs, space travel, get-rich-quick seminars and just about everything else you can imagine.

We've captured them on tape and forced all our friends to watch 'em, and everybody we know agrees--this show is funny! Especially the one with the hipster-doofus chick in the café who insists on reading her diary aloud and putting all the customers on her definitive list of all the gay people in the world. It seems almost criminal that something this hysterical slips through the cracks while people yak about how great South Park is.

If you haven't tuned in yet, catch the reruns while you can. The folks at Comedy Central tell us the Upright Citizens Brigade will kick off a second season of 10 new episodes beginning Monday, June 14.

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