The improv groundhog saw Del Close’s shadow, which means, somehow, someway, we’re experiencing the Del Close Marathon six weeks early this year!

That’s one of the new new things to make DCM14 different from its 13 predecessors.

For one thing, DCM14 is bigger than ever!

The improv comedy marathon has added not one, not two, but three new stages this summer for the early start — usually, past Del Close Marathons have taken place in mid-August. This year, we’re the warm-up for the Fourth of July. How patriotic! And also in three new venues. There’s the UCBeast, which is not only out of walking distance from all of the other venues, but also a two-subway trip, so it’ll be interesting to see if people who head to UCBeast make it back to the rest of the marathon, or decide to hold up there for several hours.

Several big shows also will make their debuts in the SVA Stages on West 23rd Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. They include BriTANick, Baby Wants Candy, the UCB TourCo All-Stars, John and Scott, 30 Rock Writers (featuring fictional and real 30 Rock writers together), The Chris Gethard Show, a reunion of Hot Sauce (Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally and Gil Ozeri), and the Facebook show.

Those shows all should prove to be sure things, should you manage the lines properly and make it in to see them.

Line management is a key to any DCM. As the marathon expands, perhaps it’ll be easier to manage.

But here are a few sure things to make sure you’re there to see at DCM14…

  • Doppelganger, 6:30 p.m. Friday, UCBTheater. Three ladies. No holds barred.
  • Bassprov, 7 p.m. Friday, UCBTheater. Same as it ever was. And yet different each time. Who knew old men fishin’ would be so comfortin’.
  • The Stepfathers, 9 p.m. Friday, UCBTheater. Best improv group in NYC.
  • Revolver, 10 p.m. Friday, UCBTheater, iO house team from Chicago, featuring Vanessa Bayer.
  • Bruckheimer, 10:30 p.m. Friday, UCBTheater, three men, one scene: Paul Scheer, Chad Carter and Owen Burke.
  • To Catch a Predator, 1 a.m. Saturday, UCBTheater, so many predators, so many caught.
  • Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah, 2:30 a.m. Saturday, UCBTheater, watch Boston sports fans come alive
  • improv4humans, noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, UCBeast, Matt Besser and friends improvise for you
  • Mantzoukas and Morris, 4 p.m. Saturday, UCBTheater, Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Morris, two-man improv for you
  • The Hines Brothers, 7 p.m. Saturday, Hudson Guild Theater, Will and Kevin Hines improvise.
  • Death By Roo Roo, 8 p.m. Saturday, UCBTheater John Gemberling, Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, John Murray, Gavin Speiller
  • The Benson Interruption, 12:30 a.m. Sunday, UCBTheater, Doug Benson and friends
  • Match Game ’76, 1:30 a.m. Sunday, UCBTheater, after a lackluster 2011 edition, perhaps they’re ready to return to the wild and crazy nights that made this the must-see show of the marathon.
  • The Straight Men, 2 a.m. Sunday, UCBTheater. Watching a bunch of improvisers ad-lib straight lines is funnier than it sounds. Or reads.
  • The NY Mets Monoscene Spectacular, 3:30 a.m. Sunday, UCBTheater. It’s nuts. Bunch of guys pretending to be Mets from the 1980s. Just soak it in.
  • Convoy, 5 p.m. Sunday, UCBTheater, The best three-person improv team out of Los Angeles.

Of course, you may find a jewel in the schedule that nobody else saw.