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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2016: Thank You Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon

An improv troupe puts an an annual comedy event in honour of their mentor in Thank You Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon. When he died in 1999, Del Close was a mostly unknown figure in comedy, even though he influenced and mentored multiple comedy superstars, such as Bill Murray, Amy Poehler, Robin Williams, Tina Fey and Chris Farley. Every year, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade hosts an event in honour of Del Close.

Depending on who you ask, Del Close was either an unrecognized pioneer of long form improv or a guy with drug and alcohol issues, who was extremely hard to work with. Thank You Del tries its best to provide a balanced opening on Del Close, even though the film's focus on the Del Close Marathon does cause the opinions to lean towards the overwhelmingly positive. The film features performances and interviews with those involved with the event, such as Amy Poehler and Matt Besser, as well as an upstart improv troupe from Missouri named "Hi, Let's Be Friends."

While it would have been nice if Thank You Del went into more detail on those Del Close influenced, such as Bill Murray, the film does feature many incredibly funny improv performances. In fact, Thank You Del is not far off than being a full-on performance film, which just happened to also include some background information on Del Close's life.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).