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Guru: My Days with Del Close Hardcover – April 28, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
For improvisers it's a must-read: you witness Del's clarity and passion regarding the craft.
For you pop-culture buffs, it's a must read: you get to learn of Del's impact on American comedy, and his intersections with 1960s counterculture.
For those who love a good story, it's a must read: I loved how seemingly innocuous errands became adrenaline rushing adventures, and was fascinated by the reflections of a man who lived a tremendously full life.
With his book, Mr. Griggs took me back to when I studied under Del in 1998. Seven years later, his teaching is very much vital and relevant to us as we are building a longform improv community in Houston, TX. Thanks for your work, Jeff. Well done!
In a mentor/protégée dynamic reminiscent of Ronald Harwood's "The Dresser", Griggs - a young, talented performer - finds himself entrusted with, at first, weekly errands for the slowly ailing Close. A somewhat odd pairing from the start - the ever-rebellious, outspoken and temperamental Close and the somewhat reserved, patient Griggs - find they are alike at the very core as both are insightful, driven and passionate about the work on stage. In his teachings at IO (formerly ImprovOlympic) in Chicago - along with Charna Halpern - Close taught, mentored and sometimes fought fiercely for honesty and intelligence onstage.
Through Griggs we are privy to the secrets, insights and, oftentimes, despair that accompanied a mind of such magnitude. The critiques of class work, for instance, are priceless for anyone who has taken an improvisational stage class: Take it seriously. Commit. Think of your stage partner and your relationship together, over yourself. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been fortunate to have studied with teachers mentioned in this book, including Jeff Griggs, who is remarkably insightful as a teacher and tremendously talented as a performer. Being taught by a mentored student of Close's gives me a kind of "Closean Pedagogical Contact Buzz" - a metaphor Mr. Close might have enjoyed. Or not.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love improv, love Del RIP. I would have probably given this book 5 stars just based on the subject but it deserved it; it was wonderful.Published 6 days ago by Doc
By far, one of the best books i've ever had the pleasure of reading. READ THIS BOOK, like, right now...Published 5 months ago by apollo starbuck rose
If you love the art of improvisation, then this is the book for you.Published 11 months ago by JeannieGnome
A really easy read! Great improv lessons, interesting story! I dashed through it!Published 13 months ago by Ms Nadine E Clarke
I met Jeff Griggs while I was at Second City taking a class. Bought Guru and read it immediately. I was hungry for more information and stories about Chicago's improv scene. Read morePublished on July 9, 2014 by Sarah E. Yost
I've always wanted to know more about Del Close and this book was exactly what I was looking for. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this book gives you a firsthand look into the life of... Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by Kenny
I'm a little biased because I'm from Chicago and have studied improv at Second City and iO, but I loved this book. Read morePublished on November 28, 2013 by Andy
Having met the author, I thought it (reading the book) would help me get to know him and his experience with a preeminent improv coach a bit better. It did. Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Todd Van Horne