This past weekend was the Del Close Marathon, wherein the Upright Citizens Brigade holds 10 different theater stages around New York City hostage and forces them to host 56 straight hours of improv comedy. Watching 56 hours of improv is a lot like watching 2 hours of improv; it's just a little to long to watch improv.
Improv comedy comes from the brain of Del Close, a guy similar to Glenn Close, but who has actually been in more scenes with dogs. He's the biological father of modern improv (he did a 23yesandme) and the deadbeat dad of whatever the hell happens in the Triple Crown basement. Many people admire his work and have learned from his tutelage, which I've heard can be pretty intimidating. To learn from him would be like constantly trying to get your dad's approval; nearly impossible.
Once a year, the UCB takes time to recognize teams from all over the country, as well as the teams (old and new) that have originated in that fateful Gristedes basement, on their quest to make up bullshit for 20 to 30 minutes. Normally, if I want to watch white people make up bullshit for a half hour, I'd turn on C-SPAN (ohhhhh!!! Snap!!!) But the theme this year was to be "Woke!" I stayed woke by not going to sleep. I was awake Friday through Saturday and started to crash Saturday night, when time would drop out and I wouldn't know what I just watched. "The stage was empty a minute ago. Where'd all of these performers come from?"
You can't see everything. Not just because the sight lines in the UCB are awful, but because when you're at or in line for one show, you are missing another 9 shows in 9 different places. It's pretty much impossible to plan out what you want to see. Things are constantly changing. It's almost as if you have to... improvise?!?!?
I'm a celebrifile, so I love the shows with people I've heard on podcasts or seen on tv. The UCB4 (Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts) are always a delight. When Horatio Sanz and Tim Meadows join, it's even better. As long as I get to see some premium shows, I'm good.
Bit shows are the stupidest things in the world. Essentially, if you have an idea, you get to do it, usually midnight to 6 am. I'm not a fan of letting people defile the stage and each other for 10 to 15 minutes, but I guess that's what constitutes a fun time these days. I don't know. If I was ever in one, I'd probably tell you to come see it.
All in all, I'd say it was another successful weekend. This year was lit, and by that I mean there was a fire in one theater and we all had to move. No one could figure out why their mimed fire extinguishers weren't working, but hey, that's the mystery of object work for ya. Many teams brought the heat, but all fell just short of this fire that happened in FIT, the fashion institute of Technology. I've heard of a hot mess before, but never like this! Anyway, I'm gonna go catch up on sleep and eat food, and I'll be back next week with a sizzling expose on ulterior motives. Should be a fun one.
P.S. I'm doing improv at The PIT tonight. Swing through.