Today is my birthday. Tomorrow Del Close would have been seventy-five years old. For years, until Del’s death, no matter how far away we were from each other or how long it had been since we’d spoken, Del and I would have two phone conversations in the space of two days, one on March 8th and one on March 9th — happy birthday phone calls. I miss those calls.

As a young improviser at The Committee, my favorite moments were being on stage and hearing Del’s deep, loud laugh coming from the back of a full house, laughing at something I’d said that I didn’t know was going to come out funny. Today and tomorrow there will be no birthday phone calls. But I thank Del for continuing to challenge me to play harder and dig deeper to hear, however faintly, his laugh, still cutting through the crowd from the back of the house.