ComedySportz team prepares for upcoming competition season

All Laughs: Members of the Comedy Sportz team practice their improv skills every week at practice. Duncan Moran (middle), junior and team member, said the  team has been practicing all school year to prepare for the competition season.

All Laughs: Members of the Comedy Sportz team practice their improv skills every week at practice. Duncan Moran (middle), junior and team member, said the team has been practicing all school year to prepare for the competition season.

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Junior Duncan Moran walks onstage for a ComedySportz match, not knowing what he’s about to do or say. He readies himself for what is about to be an hour and a half of just comedy and improvisation.

All Laughs: Members of the Comedy Sportz team practice their improv skills every week at practice. Duncan Moran (middle), junior and team member, said the  team has been practicing all school year to prepare for the competition season.
All Laughs: Members of the Comedy Sportz team practice their improv skills every week at practice. Duncan Moran (middle), junior and team member, said the team has been practicing all school year to prepare for the competition season.

“I joined ComedySportz because I wanted to take a shot at stage comedy. I made the team and became exposed to so much I never would have guessed would be important. I always figured improv was, well, in the moment. I soon learned how much preparation is needed to make yourself stage ready. Without working with your team ahead of time, getting on stage could be a disaster,” Moran said.

ComedySportz is a competitive improvisational team. Members are selected by current team members and Jim Peterson, sponsor and performing arts teacher. The team holds auditions in September, trains during the fall semester and competes during the spring semester.

“We choose the best that show the greatest potential in comedy: thinking on their feet, rhythm with music, people who are just not afraid to step out there. A good ‘actlete’ isn’t afraid to just jump up and make a fool of himself,” Moran said.

During the fall, members practice various performance skills such as listening, observing, being in the moment and the importance of ensemble performing.

“In a play, once on stage, the lines become natural and all worry leaves. In improv, it’s similar. Once the crowd

roars and the referee begins his opening spiel, all becomes all right. I just relax with the feeling that whatever happens, people will laugh,” Moran said.

ComedySportz matches at CHS are held in the Studio Theater. Two teams of improvisational “actletes” compete for laughs, points on the scoreboard, and the Meaningless Trophy.

“We compete against each other to see who’s the funniest. It’s a lot of fun. The kids are great. It’s fun to laugh and make jokes…and that’s always a good thing,” Peterson said.

During matches, the audience actively participates in the show by offering suggestions that the performers can build their scenes or jokes around. Matches are staged like a sports match but players play improvisation games that focus on teamwork and comedy.

“Usual match games deal a lot with scenes, music, and gimmicks. I have many favorites, but one that almost always brings me to tears is a game called Boo-Yay. It’s a head to head game of establishing the bright and dark sides of everything. Players take a suggestion like puppies or something, and the ‘Yay’ line would start with ‘I got a puppy today!’ and the crowd shouts ‘Yay!’ then the opposite ‘Boo’ line would return with ‘It died a minute ago.’ ‘Boo!’ ‘But it had life insurance!’ ‘Yay!’ It may seem confusing, but this game is one that will have you on the floor laughing and hating yourself for finding it so funny,” Moran said.

At the end of the game, the audience decides which team wins the match.

“There’s a rule in ComedySportz: always play to win, but don’t care if you lose. It’s really about the crowd. You’re putting on a show for them. You’re trying to entertain people, not win a trophy,” Moran said.

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