As the curtains open before each match, a friendly referee introduces themself, outlining ComedySportz’s structure, and familiar faces jump, run, skip, or saunter out into the limelight as their names are announced overhead. ComedySportz is a nationwide phenomenon represented in Claremont by CHS’ ComedySportz High School League, a show put on six times per academic year that allows for improvisational and theatrical training for players, and a great experience for players and audience members alike. Around campus, ComedySportz may ring a bell somewhere in the back of students’ heads, but only some are well-acquainted with the show. It is played on Friday evenings at 7:02 PM, between two teams which compete for points, obtained through receiving audience approval at the end of each fast-paced mini-game, of which there could be five to ten of per match. Audience members are the chief source of inspiration for the teams’ goofs and gaffs, as they are asked for input during each minigame. ComedySportz Manager and CHS junior Kyle Tchalian explains the degree to which each match is improvised.
“The captain chooses the games in conjunction with the players before the match begins,” Tchalian said. “They practice those games, and then they go onstage, get suggestions from the audience, and everything is completely improvised from then on, so, there’s no prep, per se. Because we are getting suggestions from the audience, everything is off the top of our heads.”
Tchalian joined his freshman year because a friend convinced him to try out. He was surprised he made the team and has enjoyed his time on it ever since. This may be similar to why other players joined. Students who constantly get laughs out of their friends are perfect candidates for ComedySportz. Also, many people who are already ining skills and get improvisational practice. Others may have a unique sense of humor that fits in well with the friendly, hard-working personalities of the ComedySportz team.
Besides supporting the theater program, one should go to ComedySportz to have a good time, but be advised: study up on memes beforehand; one will need them to shout out for comedic inspiration. Be sure to bring relatives. ComedySportz is geared toward families as well as high schoolers, the brown bag foul discourages non-G-rated content. However, the one demographic that may be offended by the event are dads, because of the groaner foul: when an audible groan is heard from the audience after a joke, the referee calls a groaner foul. Thus, ‘dad jokes’ are outlawed. The truly unique nature of ComedySportz is an obvious reason to attend the next match, on Apr. 12th.
“You can go to a regular play, and you’ll have a great time, but the thing that separates ComedySportz is that audience interaction; it feels a lot more personal than any given play,” Tchalian said. “Not only is it funny, but it’s just a fun experience to watch. There’s a relationship that you have between the players and the audience that is like nothing else really, so it’s unique in that sense.”
As Tchalian said, there is a bond created between the audience and a ComedySportz player by the end of a match that is unlike any sentiment a spectator might feel towards an actor in a conventional play. Between the family-friendly environment, the students who participate in ComedySportz, the laughs one will have at a match, and the impressiveness of players’ improvisational abilities, ComedySportz is truly a show to behold. Before the curtains close, each player makes their dramatic exit in an accurate representation of a slow-motion video, receiving emphatic applause from the audience as they wave farewell.