Published on August 12th, 2011 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Del Close Marathon Update: Scheer out

"Hold on a sec, I have a better offer coming in." Paul Scheer at the 2008 Del Close Marathon. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson

A reputable commenter on yesterday’s Del Close Marathon post mentioned that word on the streets is that Paul Scheer won’t be at this year’s DCM.

I was able to confirm this with Scheer directly via Twitter. Considering Scheer’s hectic schedule these days, including work on the new Adult Swim show NTSF:SD:SUV, it isn’t surprising. And hell, it’s hard not to be thrilled for the guy to know he’s so in demand.

But wouldn’t the UCB Theatre say something? Scheer is a favorite, after all, and has been for many years. His profile has been raised enough that even non-improv nerds will attend certain Marathon shows specifically to see him. Surely his plans have been known for a while, yet he’s still listed as participating in Bruckheimer and To Catch A Predator Improv Edition.

But if you’ve been paying attention the last few years, you’d know that the UCB doesn’t care to actually warn audiences of a known drop-out.

In 2008, Ed Helms was a no-show for his scheduled Friday shows, because he was putting in a standard work week at The Office. But audiences had no idea until the cast for Satellites bounded onto the stage, Helms-less. It was never acknowledged or explained.

In 2009, it wasn’t until Rob Riggle tweeted about his plans the week-of that people found out about his absence. His name was never deleted from the online schedule. As the weekend went on, we learned that Jessica St. Clair was also unable to make it, with the same result. But to this day, the DCM 11 schedule supports the unrevised-revisionist history.

I’m sure a defence could be formed out of the very philosophy of improv itself, and that no scene has a star, and that planning our schedules like this in the first place isn’t the point of bringing the community together and so on. (Edit: Called it! “I think you should admire (improv) groups and not individuals because that’s what it’s about.” -Matt Besser, DCM13 Press Conference, via Twitter)

But we all know people don’t consume entertainment – even improv – that way.

Those of us who’ve been on the inside to work, or to cover DCM, tent to get over it pretty quickly. But the people who wait outside for three hours at a time to gain entry to a show featuring their favorite improvisor, who they only ever get to see at Marathon? It’s an unfair bait-and-switch tactic that the UCB is in full control of.

Please spread the word of Scheer’s absence to all of your Marathoning friends. It’s a pretty safe bet that they won’t hear it through any official channels.

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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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