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Guru: My Days with del Close
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Guru: My Days with del Close

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A legend of improvisational theater, Del Close is best known for discovering and cultivating the talents of John Belushi, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, and countless other comedy giants. He was resident director of Chicago's famed Second City and "house metaphysician" for "Saturday Night Live," a talent in his own right, and one of the brightest and wackiest thea...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 25th 2005 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published January 1st 2005)
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Brian Kameoka
I enjoyed this brief portrait of one of the most influential figures in modern American comedy. Jeff Griggs was Del Close's assistant for the last year or so of Del's life, though this isn't Hollywood and Del was no celebrity - so most of the anecdotes are about mundane matters such as getting to the bank or stopping off at the local indy bookstore. A few of the best quotes and stories I had read before on some improv message boards. I think this nicely fills a gap for people like myself, who st...more
The world sorely needs a Del Close biography, but this isn't it. Jeff Griggs is a terrible writer and an opportunistic golddigger who used his anecdotes about taking Del Close to the bank once a week to ride on the coattails of a great performer. (I know Charna Halpern approved of this book, and I think that was a mistake.) Griggs took stories that would likely be entertaining in a conversational setting and slathered them with ego, crappy prose and Wikipedia-level background information. If thi...more
Jonathan Sparkles
A must read for any actor or comedic performer. I liked it because it was part Del Close biography, part adventure book with Jeff & Del and part improvisation instruction booklet. Very enjoyable. Main complaint was that it was too short.
phenomenal. hilarious. tear jerking. informative. read this. now.
Michael J.
I liked this book. I feel lucky that Jeff Griggs was with Del Close for such an extended period. I really feel like I know Del Close as a result of reading this excellent book. Great job Jeff!
Christopher Brennan
I enjoyed this. I was sort of familiar with Del's work and saw at least one show he directed at ImprovOlympic back in the tail end of the 1990s before his death. While parts are honest and heartfelt there are certainly moments and stories that read less like reporting and biography and more like press release anecdotes. Regardless I think it's a book the puts before the world the work of a man whose influence on performance is legendary.
A self serving cash-in on Del Close. A few interesting anecdotes and much of the myth repeated, this is just barely an O.K. book.

Readable, and mostly accurate as far as I know (good friends knew Del a lot longer than this author) the book is readable, but it borders on 'Why?'.

As a chronicle of his last days and the final impressions he left on people, it is fine. Beyond that don't expect any epiphanies or rare insight.

I'm such a freak. i know this.

This book makes me sad. Sad and disturbed and intrigued and nostalgic for a time and a place that i was never apart of.

God bless you Del Close. You were a crazy nut and i can appreciate that.

The writing can be a little stilted, but the events and themes of the book really hit me.
Griggs is a capable writer, handling the life and times of Del Close in a kind and beautifully sentimental way yet without glossing over the drug addiction or rough edges of one of the world's most important improv teachers.
It's a fun read. It's not a 'make you think' book but if you know anything about the improv world in Chicago, it's a lot of fun to read. I did laugh out loud during the scene where Close's laundry gets sent in for cleaning.
Del makes it seem like everyone in the sixties knew each other. He connects the dots from LRon Hubbard to Nichols & May to Jerry Garcia all the way to Armando Diaz.
It is an interesting look at a clash between generations of comedians. This del close guy sucks cause he died and I would have wanted to meet him
One of the funnest books about improv you'll ever read.
Beth Stelling
Chats with Cats was one of my favorite chapters. Laughed a lot and fun to peek into the life of Del Close from a perspective of a peer.
Dana Myers
It was a faster read then I had expected. Made me laugh out loud several times!!
It's funny and heartfelt and did I say funny?
Seba marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
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Sep 25, 2014
Jamie Dresher
Jamie Dresher marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2014
Brandon is currently reading it
Sep 05, 2014
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Guru: My Days with Del Close

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