As I mentioned on Friday, this weekend I spent the majority of the weekend, (and by majority I mean, 30 hours) at the Del Close Comedy Improv Marathon.
Now this event is big for two reasons:
1. It is a full weekend of improv comedy (52 hours straight) with teams from all of the world in 5 different venues.
2. It is the first big event that I am REPEATING in New York. Yes- I have now been here long enough to be doing annual things for a second time. OHMYGOSH. Grant it, this event was pushed up amount a month, but it was crazy to have conversations starting with, “last year…” Weird. You can read about my first time at the best weekend ever HERE.
And again, it was the best weekend ever. This year, I had a very different outlook on the whole weekend though. While I am still not a performer (a now realized LOFTY goal I put in place for myself last year,) I’ve been taking classes and going to shows regularly. Instead of going into shows blind, I knew the performers, the teams, and the ones I really wanted to see. I also was really learning and picking apart scenes based on lessons from my classes. I took notes!
I also went with friends this year. While I was SO proud that I went by myself last year. I am SO happy that I’ve accrued a group of friends involved with the improv community! It made not performing this year a little easier knowing that I’ve definitely made progress and am on my way by knowing people! And they made the whole waiting in line process a whole lot more entertaining! And boy was that necessary. Cause we did a WHOLE lot of waiting in line.
Being a bit more informed after last year, knowing which shows are popular and how crazy people are and willing to line up HOURS early for shows, I was able to strategically plan my weekend to see the most improv possible. They even had an app this year!
We still had to do a TON of line waiting. We sweated and caffeinated and ate junk food and stayed up until the sun rose. It truly was a marathon (or a slumber party for comedy people). I even got pooped on by a bird. But boy did I see a lot of improv… 47 shows!
We got to see a GREAT show on Friday featuring the writers of 30 Rock (both onscreen writers and actual writers of the show) featuring my favorites, Scott Adsik and John Lutz. Grizz was there too! And when the writers improvised you could totally see the whit and intelligence that is put into the script for 30 Rock. AND I can add some BIG numbers to my 30 Rock cast count…
One of my favorite parts of this crazy long marathon is seeing the random veteran improvisers get together and make random new acts.
One of my favorites was the “Improvised” Public Access Show, The Chris Gethard Show. Chris Gethard, UCB veteran, actually does have a public access show and on Friday a ton of improvisers came out to re-create the show live! Weirdest moment below…
And what happens when everyone goes crazy and the improv goes into the late nights and the wee hours of the morning? Shit gets insane. All group sets are shortened from 30 minutes to 15 and the weirdest improv happens. This is my FAVORITE part of the Marathon.
Like Paula-Prov… 15 minutes of improv where every member acts like Paula Deen, while doing improv….
Or 15 minutes of “Sound and Movement”. What is usually a short group warm-up, became extended and mostly resulted in people “pimping” each other and making Will Hines do the worm without a shirt…
But as is always the case with improv, you can’t guarantee what you are getting. Sometimes, you get stuck in the most awkward set of your life where the minutes can’t go by quick enough… As was the case with late-night group “The Prospectors”. I don’t think that many slang words for penis were around in the era of the prospectors…
But of course, the core of the marathon is just straight up good improv. And I saw some great examples of that. A 30 minute 2-person show from Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Morris, a solid group show from UCB house team Grandma’s Ashes, an AMAZING musical improv from Baby Wants Candy, and my favorite returning troupe from last year, Team Finland VSOP.
A group that was so amazing and creative that even though they were speaking mostly Finnish (?), you still couldn’t stop laughing:
Highlight of the weekend though was the SURPRISE appearance of Amy Poehler.
While the other 3 founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade (Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts) had been active all weekend, Amy Poehler couldn’t attend until the sold out final performance on Sunday night because of movie shooting (Yay movie!). So it was my luck that she showed up for the final founding member appearance prior to the large final show. The show, “We Can Fix You” was pretty much the 4 (plus Owen Burke), shooting the shit and talking to audience member about their problems. It was great. Just to have all 4 together (Only Matt Besser and Ian Roberts were there last year as well), just made my night.
Do you know what else made my night? The ability to totally play it cool when I found myself walking side-by-side with the UCB4 on their way to the big venue for the final show as I was leaving the theater. Yes. I was 1 foot away from Amy Poehler. And we all know how I normally act around my biggest celebrity crushes. I would have been ballsy and got a picture but they were talking to some family members and I’ve got to respect family time! Le Sigh. Thank you Mom for answering your phone so I could talk it out and stop shaking.
So thank you Del Close. Thank you UCB. Thank you UCB4. Best Weekend Ever yet again. I’m going to bed.