Go With the Flow: With ComedySportz competition season beginning, members, sponsor reflect on lessons, benefits of comedy


Veronica Teeter

Piper Dafforn, Comedy Sportz team captain and senior, and Comedy Sportz member and senior Austin Roberts make silly faces during an improv game. Both Dafforn and Roberts said Comedy Sportz has benefitted them in many ways.

Marvin Fan

Veronica Teeter
Piper Dafforn, Comedy Sportz team captain and senior, and Comedy Sportz member and senior Austin Roberts make silly faces during an improv game. Both Dafforn and Roberts said Comedy Sportz has benefitted them in many ways.

Every week, Piper Dafforn, team captain of ComedySportz and senior, and other ComedySportz members can be found practicing improvisation in preparation for upcoming competitions. In these competitions, the team members compete with other high schools using audience suggestions and improvisation

Veronica Teeter
Austin Roberts, ComedySportz member and senior, and Piper Dafforn, Comedy Sportz team captain and senior, act out a scene in their game. Roberts said that Comedy Sportz has impacted not only his performance in school, but his personal life too.

techniques to see which team can generate the most laughs.

But, according to Dafforn, who is this year’s team captain, laughs aren’t the only benefit to learning improvisation techniques.

Dafforn said, “(Improvisation has) made me better with not having to plan out things. I feel as if I’m more comfortable talking to people if I’m not prepared to. I’m just more comfortable doing things in the spur of the moment than I used to be.”

ComedySportz sponsor Jim Peterson said learning improvisation can help with public speaking as well as creative and quick thinking.

Peterson said, “I think (improv) helps with development speaking-wise, thinking-wise and being confident in front of people.”30

Over his 17 years as the ComedySportz sponsor, Peterson said he’s had some of his students go on to become salespeople, musicians, professional actors and improvisation performers.

Dafforn said she joined the ComedySportz team in her sophomore year. Through performances and practices, she said she’s made a lot of progress in her improvisation ability and has more confidence in her speaking ability and herself.

Austin Roberts, ComedySportz member and senior, said he has seen effects he didn’t expect to see in his everyday life.

Roberts said, “It’s been really helpful, and I’ve found myself being more confident in public speaking and other ways. Learning improv is learning how to adapt in different circumstances and (learning) to do stuff on the fly. I find myself in something that doesn’t exactly go to plan, and so I know I just have to adapt to it.”

But ComedySportz isn’t exclusive to a certain type of student. Peterson said improvisation is something anybody can do.

Peterson said, “Personally, I believe anybody can learn improvisation; it just might take some people longer to feel comfortable with it and let themselves go and overcome what’s going on internally for them.”

Dafforn said believes ambition is all it takes to be good at improvisation.

“Some people are naturally inclined to do it, but I think everyone can if they really want to do it and they can work hard to gain some skills,” Dafforn said.

Roberts said he agreed and said anyone can learn to improvise.

“It takes a little learning how to do it and some of the basic rules, but I think that it’s something anyone can do because the whole thing is just making it up and I think that anyone can do that,” Roberts said.

According to Peterson, the short season each year makes the team much more selective and more inclined to accept participants with more natural talent.

Roberts also emphasized the importance of team training because it helps to build chemistry between team members. He said that chemistry can help the team members in the competitions.

When coaching, Peterson said he’s usually telling kids to just let go and always say yes.

“Students will often times go up and have a set mindset of how they want the scene to go so they want to control it, which never works in improvisation,” Peterson said. “It’s always just easier to let the scene develop and say yes to what the offers (from the other person) are that’s coming in as far as who the other character wants you to be.”

Veronica Teeter
Piper Dafforn, ComedySportz team captain and senior, rejoices with her team after a scene last year. Dafforn said Comedy Sportz is about having fun and learning to always say yes.

According to Roberts, learning improvisation in general can be beneficial in and outside of school.

Roberts said, “Obviously, there’s stuff in classes, (where) I’ve found that ComedySportz has led me to be able to formulate a coherent thought more solidly on the fly. Outside of school, I’d say it just goes a lot with confidence because a big part of ComedySportz is you have to be confident in the scenes you create, choices that you make, and the characters that you develop. As long as you’re confident then they’ll be good, so I’ve seen myself take that confidence a lot into the world.”