This week, The Improv celebrated its 50th Anniversary (counting back to the original NYC location, Melrose opened in 1975) with an anniversary show and the premier of a new documentary. You can catch the documentary on Epix (free this weekend) and it will air on Comedy Central in the spring. It's really great, with Richard Lewis, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Sarah Silverman and a number of other comedians reminiscing, some great old footage of Pryor and Carlin, and touching remembrances of smelly cheap fish dinners and softball games.
The Thursday Anniversary show featured everyone from Chris D'Elia and Al Madrigal to Rick Overton and Jeremy Hotz and, of course, Todd Glass. They decked out the club in celebratory/holiday spirit and it was a fun, lovely evening.
Dan took the opportunity to campaign for the love an acceptance of That Mural by sharing the full backstory. So here it is. Most everyone knows that it was created by famous marine artist Wyland, who donated the whole thing to The Improv for free. It's been decades since he's painted human figures, which could have been and extra awesome PR twist... if it didn't turn out to be comedians' favorite game "Who is that supposed to be?"
I don't want to shit on it, it's actually grown on me and the tour buses love it, so it's doing something right. But there were a few things that still perplexed me that got cleared up the other night.
- It's so monochromatic because it's meant to be nostalgic sepia tone
- The left side wall is a recreation (with some comedian substitutions) of an actual photograph from the original location
- That mysterious "Open Mic Night Tonight" sign is meant to make the right side look like all these great comedians from different eras are queuing up for open mic just like they did when they were young.
- It's got an anti-graffiti coating so even if you haven't been won over, you can't destroy it with a sharpie or a spray can