My Del Close Marathon Memories

July 2, 2018

During one Del Close Marathon, around 2005, someone within the Upright Citizen Brigade organization decided it would be a good idea to buy a motorized, rideable beer cooler for the event. ... All other particulars of this performance escape me, except for our decision that Matt Walsh should “jump” the motorized rideable beer cooler off a ramp, Evel Knievel–style. We furthermore decided that the ramp should consist of a board propped up on me as I lay on the floor.

To celebrate the Del Close Marathon this past weekend, Vulture has a great set of DCM memories from UCB performers. I was at the marathon with the motorized beer cooler, including the show with the so-called ramp jump. I'd always try to get in early enough on Friday so that I could be in the main theater for the UCB Four (often three given Amy Poehler's schedule.) Not sure I hit 10, but I think I topped out at either 8 or 9 long, sweaty lost weekends "performing" (huge air quotes there) at the Del Close Marathon.

Some other random memories:

  • Performing improv on Unicycles to a packed theater with many folks sitting dangerously on the floor a little after midnight. (Here's a pic of the show from Boston that indicates some of the chaos.)
  • Going up after Ed Helms and Sarah Sliverman in a prime slot in the main theater and bombing so hard that we spent most of the drive home talking about how we were all quitting improv.
  • The incredibly overwhelming years where the party space was in the halls behind the theater.
  • Performing multiple times to sleeping audience members.
  • Burning out on comedy and ditching the festival to spend the afternoon at a bar with a couple of friends, including one who didn't come for the festival at all.
  • Seeing the fascinatingly awful movie 'Lady in the Water' and then doing an improv set that frequently referenced it.
  • Walking at dawn to an early morning show past an empty Madison Square Garden area, and feeling like I was a survivor in a post apocalyptic world.
  • Blissfuly hungover Sunday train rides home.

Aside from a recent exception, I don't perform improv anymore, but I always feel a twinge when I see all of the DCM action on social media. The marathon moving to LA next year makes sense, but is the end of an era for me. I'm sure it will find its way back home eventually.