The 2010 iOWest Del Close Awards are Regal, Raw, and Rabid

The standing-room only crowd that witnessed the 2010 iOWest Del Close Awards were treated to an evening of hilarity, surprises and touching sentiment featuring an all-star line-up of improv gods, goddesses and devils.

The evening started with the ever-dapper Maggy Keegan and Brian Konowal on a smartly decorated red carpet interviewing nominees, presenters and a creepy dude asking for change.

As the lights went down the show went up, opening with SAG Awards-inspired round of “I Am an Improviser” testimonials from Dawn Hunnicutt, Jeff Hawkins, Tim Jennings, Matt Keene and Amanda DePover. Ronnie Karam’s hypnotic, velveteen crooning brought host Josh Dubose to the stage for an electrifying monologue, after which the business of the night – handing out awards – began.

Proving that the “Rule of 3s” applies to more than just comedy, three-time Del winners Jon Crowley, Nick Armstrong and Craig Cackowski were all on hand to present their now-namesake awards. Crowley was first, bestowing the Jon Crowley Achievement in Bartending to everyone’s favorite cherub, Nick Bush. Then Nick ran back to the bar to pour more drinks. Priorities.

Armstrong, accompanied by the scantily clad Canon Wing and Liz Lytle, performed a glorious burlesque routine to present the Nick Armstrong Sexiest Player of the Year award to Tommy Bechtold. This proved that when it comes to sexy the Dels have a definite type, just like your mom.

Cackowski presented what would prove to be one of the most early anticipated awards of the night. Who among our incredibly talented pool of skilled instructors would take the home the Craig Cackowski Teacher of the Year trophy? None other than Karen Graci, whose acceptance speech radiated a warm, heartfelt sincerity a show this silly didn’t deserve.

Graci wasn’t alone in bringing tears to the eyes of the audience. Herb Koss won his 3rd consecutive award for Most Appreciative Audience Member, receiving a standing-ovation and reminding us all what iO West is all about: family, respect and unconditional love. Lauri Roggenkamp breathlessly accepted the inaugural Student of the Year Award, the only category voted on exclusively by the iO faculty. Our artistic director presented two previously unannounced James Grace Awards, the first to a stunned and obviously moved Jeff Hawkins and the second to a shocked and humble Joe Herrera.

Other highlights from the show: Dasariski won their 3rd award for Best Improvised-Non Harold, ensuring that they, like Koss, would have the award named after them next year; a Les Miz inspired song and dance number featuring Colin Contreary, Steve Major, Chris McGowan, Zach Pizza, Aaron Rice, Lauri Roggenkamp, Stephen Saffarewich and Kristen Smith; and Best Loft Show presenter Molly Erdman being interrupted by Jason Pardo (wearing a, ah, “vintage” German army uniform) accusing her of hiding improvisers in the attic.

Video and exclusive photos will be posted here in the coming weeks and be sure to mark your calendars for August 12, 2011 for what has become iOWest’s biggest night of the year – The Annual iOWest Del Close Awards.

2010 iOWest Del Close Award Winners:

Jon Crowley Achievement In Bartending: Nick Bush
Best Waitstaff: Rebecca Stevens
Hardest Working Intern: Marshall Givens
Most Supportive Audience Member: Herb Koss
Nick Armstrong Sexiest Player Of The Year: Tommy Bechtold
Best Performance Of An Object: Stephnie Weir – “Satan’s Cock” (Quartet)
Best Line: “This Baby Is Cashed.” – Tony Lewellen (U.S.S. Rock & Roll)
Best Loft Show: Pretty Bird
Best Andy Dick Black Box Theatre Show: Popular Science
Best Improvised Non-Harold Show: Dasariski
Best Scripted Show: Top Story! Weekly
Coach Of The Year: Annie Hoff
Student Of The Year: Lauri Roggenkamp
Craig Cackowski Teacher Of The Year: Karen Graci
Best Harold Team: U.S.S. Rock & Roll
James Grace Awards: Jeff Hawkins, Joe Herrera