Respecto Montalban came together in July 1998 during the Del Close Improv Marathon, when seven members members from different "Harold" teams joined together to do a gospel-inspired improv show. The name of the group is an homage to the actor Ricardo Montalban, although they were primarily referred to as "Respecto."
They won acclaim for improvised shows like "Fat City: Population YOU!" and "Good versus Elvis" They were cited in The Village Voice's Best of NYC issue for 2004. Billed as "the Upright Citizens Brigade's official touring company," they appeared at such comedy gatherings as the Chicago Improv Festival and San Francisco's Sketchfest.
The group also produced four sketch comedy shows: "Burn Millionaire Burn", "Doin' Blow with George W.", "When Amish Attack", and "George Bush Is a MotherFucker", which was conceived and guest-directed by Adam McKay. This show sold out a month in advance.
Through their years of existence, the group slowly dissolved as more members moved to Los Angeles to pursue their actor/comedian careers. Many started TV shows, but mostly could be seen on various VH1 commentary shows. There first two to leave were Danielle Schneider and Dannah Feinglass. For about a year, the group performed without them and with Jack McBrayer. Rob Riggle got a job on SNL and, because the show was on Saturday Nights, could only perform on days when the SNL was a repeat. Eventually, Owen Burke went to LA, and Scheer and Huebel soon followed. The group often called in improvisers Amy Rhodes and Chris Gethard to fill in. Eventually, it was impossible to continue the performances and they were forced to dissolve.
The original members of the group included Chad Carter, Danielle Schneider, Dannah Feinglass, Jackie Clarke, Owen Burke, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel and Rob Riggle. The group's popularity at the UCBT was a springboard to comedy careers for its members: Rob Riggle, a Marine who served in both Kosovo and Afghanistan, has been a cast member on Saturday Night Live and a guest on numberous popular sitcoms such as Arrested Development and The Office, and is currently a correspondent on The Daily Show. Rob Heubel has had guest spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development, and was a producer for Michael Moore's The Awful Truth, but is perhaps best known as the Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man from in-cinema advertising. In addition, he is a core member in MTV's Human Giant along with Scheer.
Paul Scheer appears weekly on VH1's Best Week Ever, and can be seen in School for Scoundrels and was a guest on the Jeff Goldblum TV drama Raines. He is currently is working with Respecto castmate Rob Huebel on Human Giant, a sketch comedy series for MTV. Dannah Feinglass was a cast member on MADtv and had a popular celebrity interview show on TBS called Movie Junky, in which she frequently conducted interviews in costume. Feinglass currently does voice-over work on several cartoon shows. She can be heard voicing the titular character on the PBS series WordGirl. She also writes and acts in the Amy Poehler animated series The Mighty B! on Nickelodeon. Owen Burke is most recognizable for his appearance as the "Dancing Guy" in Nextel ads, and has appeared in many programs on Comedy Central and VH1. He is currently writing The UCB Theater's Guide to Improvisation.
Jackie Clarke is a frequent DJ/co-host on several radio shows on K-ROCK 92.3 WFNY-FM, as well as appearing as a regular commentator on several VH1 commentary programs, and most recently she was hired as a writer for popular series The Big Gay Sketch Show on Logo. Chad Carter is a television writer who has written for the upcoming Nick Park animated CBS show Creature Comforts and the ABC reality show My Kind of Town. Danielle Schneider has made appearances on Best Week Ever, MTV's Beach House, and UPN's Love Inc., and she can be seen in the upcoming Amy Poehler/Rachel Dratch comedy Spring Breakdown.
Most of the group also appeared in the 2005 SXSW Award-winning comedy film Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, an improvised film about the world of paintball featuring The Daily Show's Rob Corddry. The group also held guest writing spots and made frequent appearances on the Comedy Central debate show parody Crossballs.
In October 2006, many of the remaining members of the group relocated to Los Angeles and started performing at the West Coast Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in "MySpace", an improv comedy show based on audience members' MySpace profiles. The show has been featured on Good Morning America and was voted the Best Improv in LA by Los Angeles Magazine.
Many of the members perform still perform together at the UCB Theater in NYC.
Most of the members reunited for a show in summer 2008's Del Close marathon show at the East Coast Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.