Matt Walsh is pumped up. For the first time in 20 years of operating, the Del Close Marathon will be held in Los Angeles. When we connect by phone, Matt is busy preparing for the 55-hour non-stop weekend of long-form improv comedy shows that run June 28th through June 30th at both UCB locations.
Back in Chicago, what first drew you to comedy?
I did performing in high school, a variety show, and I loved the skill of writing, creating and then performing your own material. It was a real drug for me. After college, I fell into improv, which was even more thrilling, and started to take classes. I guess I just liked the ability to create something and make people laugh. It’s endlessly entertaining and there’s so many different ways to do it. It’s always exciting when you discover a new bit or a new line. I’ve always been in the world of sketch and improv, which is more scenic and collaborative stuff. I did stand-up but wasn’t great at it and have always enjoyed the ensemble.
Sort of the energy of feeding off another person and building something.
And their interpretation of a line if it’s a sketch, or you know it could be anything obviously. But in the world of comedy, it’s always their take on it and they’re making it funnier than it probably was on the page or they’re improvising something that catches you by surprise. It’s very exhilarating. And obviously with improv, the audience is sort of on that ride with you and that’s what live theater has that nothing else does: everybody kind of feels that tension and the release of tension.
You studied under Del Close. What impact did he have …
Author: Stephen Laddin / High Times