Category Archives: #chicago

My pal Homer

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Honored to join the ranks of The Simpsons pop culture references last night!

Thanks for the shout-out, Homer (and the whole Simpsons gang)!

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PythonProv Rising!

…You may recall that I’ve been teaching PythonProv–where Monty Python and Improv come together–at the iO Chicago theatre recently. My Level 2 class is wrapping things up in a big way–with a free show this Friday night at 7 pm in the Jason Chin Cabaret at the iO.

This one is going to be fun, folks, and a great way for the class to go out in a blaze of glory. You’re all invited. End of commercial.

Remembering Del…

Del Close died 17 years ago today, March 4, 1999, less than 24 hours after his farewell party.

He taught us a better way of life through improvisation, he showed us how to die, and he certainly knew how to edit.

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think of something Del said or did, or that I don’t share something with my students.

Just last weekend, after they did a scene about a living person at his own wake, I had to tell my PythonProv class that Del had done it first. Coincidentally, they will be on stage tonight at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO, doing work that I taught them to do because Del taught me to do it first.

If you’re an improviser and were lucky enough to know Del, tell someone a Del story. If you didn’t, then find someone who knew Del and ask them. (And if you can’t do either, then I would opportunistically suggest you look through a copy of The Funniest One in the Room.)

If Del was still here, he would be very happy–though probably not surprised–at the way that long form improvisation has continued to grow, and very proud of the way that Charna and so many others have carried on his work.

#delclose #iochicago #improvimage

More Python Classes

Graham Colonel

I’m sorry I’ve been posting less often lately (most of my posts seem to begin this way), but, among other things, I’ve been devoting a lot of my formerly free time to my Python classes at the iO Chicago. And it’s been a blast. To paraphrase something that Graham Chapman once told me, “I don’t let them know how much fun I’m having or they won’t want to pay me.”
Both sessions are winding up; my writing class, The Python Process, will be wrapping up with a staged reading on February 21 at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Theatre at the iO. This group has been turning out some incredibly funny material, week after week, and the audience is going to have a great time. My improv class, PythonProv, will be performing beginning at 7 pm February 26 in the same space, and this one will be just as funny.
Improvising in the style of @montypython is not the easiest thing in the world, and we may be the first group that’s made a serious attempt at it. And it’s going so well that we’re not going to let it drop after this session ends. And that’s why we’re going to continue on to a second level of PythonProv with the same group.
So why am I telling you all this if you aren’t in the group? Because we’re launching another session of PythonProv Level One classes beginning on Sunday, February 28. I don’t want to tell you how we do it, but I’ll give you one hint: while doing a long form improvisation, we chip away at everything that doesn’t look like #montypython. And it’s working!
If you’re interested, contact the iO Chicago. If you like Monty Python and improvising, you’re going to have a blast.

Good news, Cleese news…

The bad news is when your phone rings right in the middle of your Python Process class at the iO Chicago.

The good news is when it’s John Cleese calling, and he offers to talk to your students on speakerphone.

He answered questions about writing, and delighted and inspired the whole group. All classes should be like this. Thanks, John!

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Del’s Rolling Stone debut…

If you read my Del Close biography The Funniest One in the Room, you probably know that this is the 50th anniversary of Lysergic a Go Go, which preceded the first Acid Test by one week.

Del Book cover

The former was a happening organized by Del and Hugh Romney (later Wavy Gravy), and it’s finally being recognized by the historians. Well, okay, Rolling Stone, but still, this was nice to see. sic/news/acid-tests-turn-50-wavy-gravy-merry-prankster-ken-babbs-look-back-20151130

This was very likely the first psychedelic light show; Del liked to say that he invented them, and there’s no reason to think that he didn’t. BTW, many years ago, he gave me the lantern that he used for the light shows, and somewhere or another, I still have it…