Comedians from around the world gathered at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre last weekend to participate in the Del Close Marathon, a series of 420 shows presented over 56 hours on seven stages around New York City.
UCB founders and Close disciples Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Ian Roberts (Arrested Development), Matt Walsh (Veep) and Matt Besser launched the Marathon 15 years ago to honor the memory of Close, a comic and teacher widely regarded as the father of long-form improvisational theater.
Among the highlights was Friday night’s Stepfathers reunion, which featured 13 of the troupe’s past and present players, from Bobby Moynihan (SNL) to Zach Woods (The Office) and Brian Huskey (Superbad). The fast-paced program saw players imitating flaming horses and featured a documentary-style narration of each member’s future.
Springsteenprov, the 5:00 a.m. Saturday show, featured roughly 30 comics, dressed as Born in the U.S.A.-era Bruce, performing as The Boss. The swarm of mostly drunken, bandanna-wearing performers energized the audience with scenes about “Backstreets” and love on the boardwalk.
Later that morning, the Chicago-based Baby Want’s Candy performed a wholly original musical entitled “The Library of Time.” Accompanied by a four-piece band, the crew sang off-the-cuff tunes about life inside the stacks, with songs dedicated to a homeless couple, a grifter and a couple of leprechauns.
Closing out the weekend were back-to-back-to-back performances of ASSSSCAT 3000, a 17-year UCB mainstay featuring Horatio Sanz (SNL), Katie Dippold (The Heat) and Kroll Show‘s Jon Daly, who improvised scenes based on monologist Louis C.K.’s stories about dying ballerinas and his preference for women’s swimsuits.
The Marathon concluded with C.K., Poehler and the ASSSSCAT cast sitting cross-legged, watching never-aired broadcast monologues from the festival’s namesake, the man we have to thank for much of the landscape of modern entertainment.