The opening night performance from the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company was hysterically great at some points and painfully awkward at others. But that’s the way it goes with longform improv sometimes.

The guys (and gal) of the TourCo hail from the mean streets of NYC where comedy is no laughing matter, and they’re clearly pros. Like all good improv comedians, they were never ruffled onstage, and nobody ever seemed put off or flustered when the jokes flopped. Rather, all cast members stayed composed, moving along to the next bit because, as they say, the show must go on. And on.

At times, that was exactly the problem. Some of the least funny skits refused to die while the cast constantly shifted arrangements and changed characters as they tried to strike a magic note they never really quite hit.

It was obvious what they were searching for, because when the jokes were good, they were great.

Things started strong with the onstage interview of an audience member, the outgoing mother of young triplets. She provided fodder for plenty of hilarious moments early on. After the intermission, the laughs continued, partially during a segment when the audience suggested zucchini as the basis of the sketch, but overall the performance felt a little rusty. Kind of like young comedians on opening night after a long road trip.

To be fair, not all of the audience agreed with my assessment. There was no shortage of chuckles throughout the performance, even at the bad jokes, but at times they sounded forced. A hallmark of the Brigade is the cast’s willingness to follow a bit or scene until they find the funny, but sometimes tonight they found themselves in a dead end with few places to go, and fewer laughs to chase.

However, all is far from lost. This Upright Citizens Brigade TourCo is full of talented and confident entertainers, whose steady wit and enormous cojones will certainly pay off with bigger and bigger laughs every night as their enormously popular annual residency progresses.

Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company • Piccolo Fringe • $15 • 1 hour • May 31, June 6 at 10 p.m.; June 1 at 8 p.m.; June 2,3 at 9 p.m.; June 7 at 7:30 p.m. • Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. • (888) 374-2656