Festivals

Published on August 22nd, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson

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Del Close Marathon in Review: Day 2

Make no mistake: sitting in the UCB Theatre for 7.5 hours straight on the Saturday night of the Del Close Marathon is a physical effort, especially for someone who normally has to be talked into leaving her apartment on a Saturday night. How those people who stayed through the entire Marathon did it, I have no idea.

I was drenched in sweat almost immediately. I drank 2 bottles of fruit smoothies and lots of water, and was still horribly dehydrated by the end of it. Holding a 2-pound weight infront of my face the entire time didn’t help the comfort level. At 30, I certainly felt I was at the older end of the late-night audience spectrum, I imagine because most people older than me have died in similar conditions at past Marathons, their corpses hidden behind the drywall (which would explain the smell).

One of my highlights Saturday night was seeing Improvised Shakespeare for the first time. I’d been meaning to for ages, and it never seemed to work out for me. Their following is totally justified.

Ian Roberts didn’t disappoint with Lazy Man. The hour flew by. The highlight was him reluctantly telling a story that had been an in-joke between he and his brother since they were kids, about Ian getting away with swearing during a family road trip, and his brother trying failing to get him in trouble. The story was told reluctantly because Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were sitting just feet away from their son, and Ian worried that the story won’t be special anymore now that they know about it. It was an oddly personal moment, something I didn’t expect to see during the Saturday night of DCM.

I was pleased to see Ed Helms perform in what would be his only show of Marathon, Seth & Ed’s Puppet Talk Show. Having left their “puppet theatre” back in LA, Helms and Seth Morris came out on stage with what appeared to be paper tablecloths covering their heads. Damn them, thought I with the camera. At this point, it would have been about 95 degrees in the theatre, plus the lights shining on them, so it only took about a minute before Helms commented on the heat and the fact that the makeshift human backdrops may have been a bad idea. I’d often wanted to yell “take it off!” at Helms, so I gave into that impulse and they subsequently removed their little paper barriers. Gentlemen, my camera thanks you.

Their celebrity guest, Sarah Silverman, also returned to the stage for the Benson Interruption (along with Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer). I sure have been getting my fill of Sarah lately, between this and Toronto in July! I definitely am not complaining. She was hilarious and interesting and WOW is that girl photogenic. The Comic’s Comic has video of her appearance with Seth & Ed, which is worth the watch.

After Doug Benson & friends, the true late-night insanity started. Smartest Panel of Experts (hilarious), Cracked Out (was NOT expecting this to turn into a bad rave!), Psychic Improv (strange change of pace), and then the coup de grasse…

In prior years, I had not stayed late enough for Match Game ’76. It’s been described to me as “epic”, and I missed out on last year’s Brooke Shields appearance and subsequent bullshit retelling of it in the NY Daily News. I was determined and committed to seeing it this year, and I suppose it was worth sticking around about an hour past my “fed up” point.

I was in the absolute wrong place for viewing much of the Match Game insanity, but it was crazy and enjoyable and fun to catch glimpses of Jack McBrayer getting shit upon. But it’s definitely a frat-boy thing. Yes, let’s smash a watermelon on the stage… not caring that the girls sitting on the stage infront of you may have a differing opinion on how much fun that is. (Having photographed a lot of variety/sketch shows, this a bit of a sore point for me, as I’ve actually had asshole performers purposely try to get prop food/beverage on my camera gear. So this whole disregard-for-comfort-and-property thing gets me kinda pissy.)

I must admit I don’t remember half of what I witnessed during Match Game ’76 — I couldn’t even properly answer my friend who asked me who all was in it — so I pray video surfaces at some point. Though I’m sure many of the performs pray that it doesn’t.

It was 2:30 am. I had made it as far as I had promised myself I would. After a run backstage to chug a Miller Lite (I was that desperate for liquids) I went back to the hotel and showered with my clothes on, as they had been rendered too disgusting to even contaminate my luggage with. And it was off to sleep and get ready to do it again the following afternoon.

1 photo from each show included after the jump.

Death by Roo Roo

Death by Roo Roo

The Mighty Stumps

The Mighty Stumps

Virgin Daiquiri

Virgin Daiquiri

Opening Night

Opening Night

Improvised Shakespeare

Improvised Shakespeare

Lazy Man

Lazy Man

Reuben Williams

Reuben Williams

The Smokes

The Smokes

Seth & Eds Puppet Talk Show

Seth & Ed's Puppet Talk Show

Rondo

Rondo

Benson Interruption

Benson Interruption

Smartest Panel of Experts

Smartest Panel of Experts

Cracked Out

Cracked Out

Psychic Improv

Psychic Improv

Match Game 76

Match Game '76

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About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.



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