Unprofessional title? Keepin’ it.
Anyway, as you may have gathered, I finally got to go to ComedySportz, a PEX activity that I’ve been super excited about for a while now. I know that this is longer than my typical post, but know that I’m not wasting your time, I just really really liked it.
I was planning to go the weekend before Thanksgiving, then couldn’t. I meant to go last weekend, but I was in a tryptophan coma and missed it. After lots of shuffling around, I got all the pieces to fit together- I had a friend, a ticket waiting for me at will call (thank you, Don!), walking directions and a subway token and finally got to check out the 7:30 pm show (there’s also one at 10 pm) at the Adrienne theater on 20th and Sansom Streets.
Essentially, ComedySportz is what the Olympic event in improv would look like. No obscenity (or you get shamed and have to sit with a brown bag on your head for a few minutes), no bad puns, and 100% improv-ed material. The teams are red (Jersey turnpikes) versus blue (Philadelphia Amish) are are made up of four players each.
The show consists of a series of improv games, some of which are judged by applause from the audience, others by pre-chosen audience judges and the rest by the referee (who, to give you an idea of the seriousness of the game, gave a point to the blue team when they asked for it, and took two away when a red player hugged him too enthusiastically).
At the very beginning, Referee Sean told us, “This isn’t television, this is Theater. I can see you,” which set the tone for the entire evening. Audience participation is crucial, and ComedySportz is serious about their commitment to theater as an art form. From clapping to chiming in topics, to actually getting up on stage, the audience is treated as a living element of the show. When a huge group of people with reserved tickets walked in 10 minutes late, they were welcomed by everyone on stage and in the audience. The atmosphere is light and silly and the energy of the crowd is a huge factor in the kind of experience you have. Read as: go with a huge group of really fun friends that you know you’ll have a blast with.
Because it’s bound to be different every time, I won’t bother explaining which games they played or how they went, but I will tell you about the players. Each team member had a ton of personality and though you could definitely tell that it was the first show of the night and that they were warming up, each one had something inherently hilarious about them. For instance, one player had a contagious laugh that made me giggle every time I heard it. It was also evident that everyone had a theater background, if not for their stage presence then for their awesome singing voices that came out during random parts of games. You know those people that sing along to the radio and demolish the high notes without thinking about it? ComedySportz is where those guys go to thrive.
Singing–> music–> sounds–> this is the part where I tell you about my moment of stardom.
Whenever people in a show ask for audience volunteers, I always raise my hand because I assume I won’t get picked. Well, ladies and gentleman guess who got brought up on stage tonight? This girl, of course. The game was for the actors to create a scene involving two honeymooners in Alaska who get their room crashed by a random old guy. My job was the provide hilarious sound effects. When I say you get out what you put in, this is a perfect example. Before I went up, I was really enjoying myself but after I put myself out there and got a supportive, positive response from the audience and the players alike, I liked it even more. Because really, who doesn’t like being clapped for?
This is where I will put the picture of me with all the players, assuming I can get my hands on it. For the time being, enjoy this gem of me eating a lime.
ComedySportz performs every Saturday night at 7:30 pm and again at 10 pm. Because they are extremely conscious of keeping it PG during these performances (so feel free to bring your 5th grader cousin when she visits), they have recently added a raunchier version called The Blue Show, which happens on the last Friday of every month during the 10 pm show. As an enthusiastic potty-mouth, I’ll definitely be checking this out later this month.
Tickets are $12 for students with ID, but $10 for Temple students who bring their handy-dandy PEX passport. Read as: great deal.
Thanks again to Don who was kind enough to accommodate my ever-shifting schedule, to the players and of course the friend I coerced into coming with me.