The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close

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Chicago Review Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages
Containing recollections from more than 80 of the comedic giant's closest friends and colleagues, this absorbing biography explores Del Close's old haunts, his sensational past, and the reality behind the tales he told so often. From traveling with a carnival and hanging out with a pre-Scientology L. Ron Hubbard to riding with the Merry Pranksters and using a coven of witches to help him kick a lifelong cocaine habit, Close led an incredibly rich life--one whose absurdity proved great fodder for improv theater. Astute and compassionate, Close influenced improvisational theater's greatest comedic talents of the last 50 years--Nichols and May, Lenny Bruce, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Tina Fey--and coached the witty masterminds behind such comedic institutions as Second City, "Saturday Night Live," Groundlings, and the Upright Citizen's Brigade.

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THE FUNNIEST ONE IN THE ROOM: The Lives and Legends of Del Close

User Review  - Kirkus

The definitive biography of an improvisational comedy guru.If not for an unassuming, Kansas-born stand-up-comic-turned-actor-turned-director named Del Close (1934-1999), there would probably be no ... Read full review

The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Johnson (Life Before and After Monty Python), a devoted student of comedy, is an ideal writer to tell the story of well-known comedic pioneer Del Close. Close was a comedian's comedian: he was ... Read full review


Setting the Stage
2 Dr Dracula Dianetics and Death
3 On the Road with the Barter Theatre
4 Learning the Rules with the St Louis Compass
5 Broadway Beatniks and The Doors of Perception
6 The Second City and the Spider King
7 Stongehenge and a Skate Through the Sewers
8 The Merry Pranksters and My Mother the Car
17 The ImprovOlympic
18 Roaches in the Dental Floss
19 The Return of the Harold the Barons Barracudas and Charna
20 The Brain of the Galaxy
21 Chris Farley The Blob and Farewell to Second City
22 Workshops Reunions and the Family
23 Close Youve Gone Sane
24 The Party

With the Committee in San Francisco
10 The Birth of Harold Spidering and a Pornographic Western
11 Pretty Much a Blur
Belushi and the Bean Can
13 Valium Vitriol and Ancient Egyptian Opium
14 The Clockwork Orange Treatment
15 Junkies Give the Best Shots
16 Saturday Night Live Tennessee Williams and the Cleanup
25 Curtain Call
Works of Del Close

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About the author (2008)

Kim Howard Johnson was a longtime friend of Del Close, a personal assistant to John Cleese, a newspaper and magazine writer, and is the author of several books on Monty Python. He coauthored the improv classic Truth in Comedy with Del Close and Charna Halpern. He lives in Ottawa, Illinois.

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