Every year, I worry my Midwestern parents by telling them I am spending the entire weekend in the dank basement of a Gristedes in Chelsea, drinking cheap beer until I either run out of money or I fall asleep. I try to explain that it’s all to see stars and writers from SNL, Colbert Report, The Daily Show and more perform non-stop “Oh my god I just peed a little” comedy, but apparently to them that is still not worth sacrificing both sleep and Vitamin D for. They are wrong.
This will be my 5th year as an attendee of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater’s Del Close Marathon, which features over 150 shows by improv and sketch groups from across the country starting at 6PM on Friday, July 30th and going straight through until August 1st at 8PM. The marathon is in honor of Jerry Lewis… jaykay! It’s in honor of Del Close, who was a driving force in long-form improv in Chicago for 30+ years and led to Chi-town transplants Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts starting the UCB in New York City.
The groups perform at a few theaters in the UCB area in 30 minute sets with a few minutes of changeover in between, but the best strategy is to arrive a couple hours before the most coveted shows start so you’ll have a nice spot for you and your pile of $2 PBR cans by the time they begin (psss, they only get better as the night goes on and performers get drunker). The required wristband to partake in the entire weekend – and you can come and go as you please – costs just $25 and are available at the UCB box office on Friday. This might seem like a lot, but only if you hate fun and laughing and creating lasting memories of your youth to carry you through the sad, dull days of old age when you eventually give up on this cement city and move to the country. Like my parents.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
301 W. 26th Street
At 8th Ave [Chelsea]
Full schedule HERE.