NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/31/10

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Blaine Swen

Blaine Swen's one-man improvised musical BASH was among the highlights at Day 1; be sure to catch as much as possible of the Del Close Improv Marathon

Tonight’s recommendation for the best in New York City comedy is:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] All Day Today and Sunday ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm yesterday until after midnight on Sunday, August 1st. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed.

Highlights from the 12 hours I spent at the festival yesterday included:

The Improvised Shakespeare Company taking the suggestion hope” to craft a play about royal serial killing, unending senseless war, and the highest body count of the Marathon…for which the audience rewarded the troupe with a standing ovation.

ISC’s founder Blaine Swen demonstrating he can do anything by performing a one-man improvised musical with an inventiveness, skillfulness, and depth that was breathtaking…and garnered the only other standing ovation of the Marathon.

The wonderful Bobby Moynihan (cast member of Saturday Night Live) tap-dancing on a talk show hosted by the also wonderful Horatio Sanz.

Many of the finest improvisors at UCBT—led by rising star John Gemberling—wearing nothing but diapers to perform as whiny babies.

Another group of top NYC improvisors pretending to be Bostonians who continually cursed the Yankees, drank beer, and sprayed copious amounts of beer on the audience.

Several shows that didn’t pan out but tickled us with their concepts, including Jane Austen-era improvisors, hillbilly improvisors, and a small army of Jay Leno impersonator improvisors.

The guys of the Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh—announcing that they and Artistic Director Anthony King will be opening a new NYC theatre in January 2011 named UCB-EAST—on 3rd Street off Avenue A (where the Two Boots indie film theater used to be)—and that its focus will be on stand-up to complement the Chelsea theatre’s focus on improv.

There are other comedy events happening tonight; but they pale in comparison.

Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of The 12th Annual Del Close Marathon

For full details, please visit

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