'For Madmen Only' Trailer: Meet The Improv Genius Who Taught John Belushi, Tina Fey, Bob Odenkirk & More

You're undoubtedly familiar with comedians like Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, Bob Odenkirk, and more. But what about Del Close (pictured in the referee shirt above), the eccentric improv genius who taught and influenced every single one of them? Now you can learn about one of the biggest influences on modern comedy in the new documentary For Madmen Only, a perplexing and surreal portrait of the flawed and troubled mentor that features tons of comedians you know and love.

For Madmen Only Trailer

From Madmen Only chronicles the life of Del Close through the lens of his creation of the DC Comics title Wasteland, a horror anthology series that took cues from Close's life, but exaggerated them into gnarly, surreal tales of terror. The format of this documentary alone makes it worth watching. When I reviewed the movie through the virtual SXSW film festival last year, I noted:

Director Heather Ross uses a mix of archival footage, talking heads, dramatic (or rather comedic) reenactments, comic panels, and animation to tell the story of Del Close. The result is an entertaining, insightful,  fascinating and truly unique documentary that shines a light on the man who many comedians saw as the personification of what comedy could be beyond simply making someone laugh. It's a warts-and-all chronicle of his life that included alcoholism, casual drug use, angry outbursts, creative clashing, practice of witchcraft, and much more.

Though it digs into the dark, unsavory parts of Del Close's life and mind, it's also about his comedy career and the creation of the improv comedy format known as Harold. There's a cavalcade of famous faces here that comedy connoisseurs will eat up. But there's also a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a man who experienced all the highs and lows of being an artistic genius. Not even those closest to him seemed to fully understand this man. But For Madmen Only does an outstanding job of trying.

Here's the official synopsis:

Comedy guru Del Close, mentor to everyone from Bill Murray to Tina Fey, sets out to write his autobiography for D.C. Comics. As he leads us through sewers, mental wards, and his peculiar talent for making everyone famous but himself, Close emerges as a personification of the creative impulse itself. He's a muse with BO and dirty needles, offering transcendence despite (or because of) the trail of wreckage behind him.

For Madmen Only is available now to buy digitally or rent on VOD from various digital media retailers.