This week is a great time to be a comedy junkie in NYC, because we're getting ready for the 9th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon, named after the man widely appreciated as the originator of long-form improv. I love this stuff, because anyone who can head onto a stage and weave an hourlong musical out of nothing more than a suggestion (in a recent show, it was "the smallest vampire in Sheboygan") is someone I want to know. Improv groups from all over North America are coming here to do this for 55 straight hours at three different venues, and I'm going to sneak away for as much of it as possible after I herd the boys into their bedroom for the night.
I performed a lot of improv back in the day, but it was short-form stuff, the sort of thing you see on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" when they tell you what the game is and you have to come up with zingers. And that's fine, although long-form devotees regard it with the same esteem as they might a steaming horse turd, or Alberto Gonzalez. In long-form you know absolutely nothing, and you have to recognize when the game asserts itself and go with it. It's hard as hell for us adults and our ossified minds, but for little boys it's just another day. So whenever I perform it (and am convinced I am suckiest sucker that ever sucked) I am inspired by my children, who can take a crib mattress and an old keyboard and build a ship for two space mice on an intergalactic mission to recover a valuable hunk of space cheese.
Also, somewhat relatedly: The other night I was on my way to the theater, which is in Chelsea, when I crossed paths with a young street tuff peacocking his way down the boulevard. He looked at my light-green polo shirt, khaki shorts, and sandals, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Get this old FAGGOT."
Naturally, I was deeply offended. Who the fuck's he calling "old"?