In total, I spent 14 hours at the 8th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon. I took in 26 shows across two days, and as can be expected, that much improv leads to one being a bit overloaded. It is hard to look back over that much hilarity and remember individual bits, suggestions given, scenes edited, etc.
But with that said, here are my best attempts at something resembling awards. I should note that these distinctions are only for the shows I saw – I am unable to praise that which I was not in attendance for. The 26 shows were (in chronological order): Kid Dervin, Death League Tea Party, Asia-Town, Neely O’hara, Pax Romana, Rogue Elephant, B-Roll, Primal Bias, I Eat Pandas, Mister Diplomat, Delaney & Merrit: Omlette Vision, The Upright Citizens Brigade, The Academy, Krompf Breakfast, The Improvised Mystery, Ugly Stick, Pearl Brunswick, Flux Capacitor, KNC, Dr. Fantastic, BirdDog, Scheer-McBrayer, The Swarm, Fivesome, MySpace, and Walsh & Roberts.
I should also note that I’m effectively giving one award to every group I really enjoyed. This isn’t to say the ones that didn’t get awards weren’t enjoyable (although a few were not), but these were the real standouts.
BEST TRADITIONAL IMPROV GROUP
What can be said about the veterans? Fast paced, great teamwork, and even a bit of wall breaking. Semantic arguments have never been so much fun. It’s a damn shame they don’t perform anymore.
BEST NON-TRADITIONAL IMPROV GROUP
I Eat Pandas
Mark my words: Glennis, Eliza, and Travis are going to be – if somehow they are not already – the next huge act out of NYC.
Upright Citizens Brigade
Besides the previously mentioned accident: there was trying to jump the cooler over a ramp constructed out of plywood and Ian Roberts. There was Matt Walsh destroying a chair for no reason. There was a six person beer drinking contest. There was a two person banana eating contest, which had a fight on the cooler in the middle of it. There were scenes with nazis and six year old girl hockey pucks.
Fresh bacon, lots of OJ, bagels, eggs with scallions, and unlimited Bloody Mary refills? KROMPF! Also, the improv was good too!
BEST USE OF GIMMICK
Flux revisits the same situation from multiple locations. It worked better than I expected, with some great running jokes and unintended hilarity.
BEST TWIST ON THE FORMULA
Inspiration used for horrible jokes, and then doing scenes off of those? WHAT A TWIST! No, seriously, it was a good twist.
BEST AURAL JOLT
The Pearl Brunswick
Nothing will make you pay attention like five gifted women singing with all their might.
BEST MORNING IMPROV TEAM
Out of all the morning teams I saw, Asia-Town ran away with my personal laugh count. Given that I was groggy as shit at that time, this says something.
BEST SEMANTIC ARGUMENT
Walsh And Roberts
Is sour cream a garnish? They argued for 15 minutes, and I’m still not entirely sure.
THE JEN MALINSKY AWARD
(given to one performer who stands out across multiple groups, as Jen did last year)
Tim Curcio – holy shit, he was everywhere, and he was great! Go Tim!