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Ten Must-See Shows at the Del Close Marathon This Weekend

by Photo of Natalie Sacks

Your favorite comedy talents converge in New York in celebration of an improv hero.

Ten Must-See Shows at the Del Close Marathon This Weekend

The Del Close Marathon is a three-day improv marathon stretching across several Manhattan theaters and providing 24/7 comedy performances from some of today's hottest comedic talents. Begun in honor of the legendary long-form improv performer Del Close, the marathon is sponsored by the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and now in its sixteenth year. 

The original UCB troupe contained such legendary talents as Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, but it's not just that crew who returns for the marathon; well-known comics from Comedy Central, Saturday Night Live and elsewhere all come together to celebrate the improv comedy form where they got their start.

How the Festival Works

From Friday afternoon to Sunday night, there is a literally nonstop series of comedy performances. There are two types of shows, regular and premium. For the regular shows, all you need is a weekend wristband pass, purchased for $30 in cash starting at noon on Friday, and it will get you in to all of the non-premium shows for the entire weekend. Premium shows, featuring some of the most successful talents at the festival, are $20 apiece, though there will be a standby line for weekend pass holders at each of the premium shows.

For this top ten list, we have divided our picks into regular weekend pass shows and premium shows. Whether you are looking to spend the whole weekend watching improv or just want to see "The Chris Gethard Show", there is something here for everyone.

Top Regular Pass-Holder Shows

The Upright Citizens Brigade

Saturday 7:00-7:30pm at DCM UCBT NYC

If you are going to buy a weekend pass, you have to go see the group that launched the entire festival. Matt Besser and Ian Roberts have had fruitful careers in TV and film, but are still most known for founding UCB back in 1991. For a solid introduction into what UCB and the Del Close Marathon are, these are your guys.

Late Night Superfriends

Saturday 10:30-11:00pm at DCM UCBT NYC

In this special event, writers from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live and more come together to present a fully improvised show. Are these writers as funny on stage as they are on the page? We hope so! This show features Zhubin Parang, Hallie Haglund, Opus Moreschi, Josh Patten, Dan Gurewitch, Jordan Klepper, Chad Carter, Claire Mulaney, Tracey Wigfield and Ariel Dumas.


Saturday 6:45-7:15pm at DCM UCB EAST

The Upright Citizens Brigade Improvisational and Sketch Comedy Training Center is the only accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the country. In this show, you get to see the teachers of the next generation of brilliant comedic minds perform in their own right and show us why they are the masters of their form. The show features Doug Moe, Ben Rameaka, Ari Voukydis, Betsy Stover, Patrick Claire and Frank Hejl.

Milhiser's Minions

Saturday 11:00-11:30pm at DCM UCBT NYC

In this set, John Milhiser of SNL is joined by fellow SNL performers Sasheer Zamata, Mike O'Brien and Bobby Moynihan, along with Ellie Kemper of The Office, Nicole Byer and Marcy Jarreau. These sketch comedy talents are bound to be brilliant together as they put on an improvised performance.


Saturday 2:00pm-6:00pm at DCM UCB EAST

This act is a welcome change of pace from our other group improv act picks. Matt Besser's fully improvised podcast Improv4Humans is returning to the stage for a marathon edition. Will there be special guests, or will the man carry the show by himself for four hours?

Top Premium Shows

Broad City

Friday 7:30-8:20pm at FIT Haft Auditorium

Broad City is the cult web-to-TV series brought to you by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer currently on Comedy Central. In this act, Jacobson and Glazer will be joined by Jason Mantzoukas and Jason Gemberling for an hour of live comedy.


Friday 10:30-11:30pm at FIT Haft Auditorium

There is no better way to summarize the Chris Gethard Show's act than they did themselves:

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The Chris Gethard Show Presents: TCGame of throneS. The public access underdog comedy show brings you yet another audience interactive hour of idiocy. You will be assigned to a house lead by one of your favorite TCGS characters. Your house will pledge its fealty to either liege lord Chris Gethard, Shannon O'Neill, or Murf. Then, you the audience will compete to see who lives and who dies.


I can't wait to see what comes of this. Can you?

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Saturday 9:00-9:50pm at FIT Haft Auditorium

If you want to feel a little more cultured during your Del Close experience, the Improvised Shakespeare Company is one of the most critically acclaimed theatrical improv troupes in the country. Founded in 2005 under the vision of director/creator Blaine Swen, the company has since grown and now plays three shows a week in Chicago as well as runs in NYC and LA. This special performance features Ross Bryant, Joey Bland, Brendan Dowling, Greg Hess and Thomas Middleditch.


Saturday 10:30-11:20pm at FIT Haft Auditorium

Nick Kroll of Comedy Central's Kroll Show is here joined by several actors and writers on his show, including Seth Morris, Joe Wengert, Jason Mantzoukas of FX comedy series The League and Brian Huskey of This is the End and Superbad. How will Nick Kroll and company do out on the live stage? We're excited to find out.


Sunday 7:30-8:55pm OR 10-11:30pm at FIT Haft Auditorium

The Del Close Marathon's headliner performance, ASSSSCAT 3000 guarantees performances from Amy Poehler, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, but also notes potential special guests from SNL, 30 Rock and The Colbert Report. ASSSSCAT is the Upright Citizens Brigade's improv juggernaut that has played to critical acclaim and sold out audiences across the country. So popular that it has two performances this weekend, both shows are in fact already sold out. But if you don't want to risk trying to get in off the standby list, our main trio are also holding a Marathon Press Conference at 4:00pm on Friday to launch the improv festival by answering any and all of your questions.

And of course, as much as we want you to see the best of the festival, part of the joy of the Del Close Marathon is just showing up in the middle of the night and seeing who is on stage. So if you really want to go to the Hogwarts Improv Club at 4:35am or see your alma mater's improv group up on the big NYC stage, go for it. For the complete schedule of events, check out the Del Close Marathon website.

Want great tickets but hate paying fees? Check CHARGED.fm to find tickets for less and NO FEES!

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