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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 08, 2023

Competing for laughter

Here's a recipe for laughter: Take one serving of Monday Night Football (with or without Dennis Miller) and add it to an HBO Comedy Special. Perform for two hours in front of an audience at 449 State St. every Friday and Saturday night. Voila! You have just witnessed ComedySportz. 




ComedySportz is the only place where a person can see a cornucopia of mesmerizing platipi or witness a team of players act out a day in your own life. The most unusual aspect is that the audience can control the way the games are played out, and in some cases, which team wins the match. 




Since 1984, ComedySportz has been a type of improv comedy competition between two teams. The main idea is to earn points through the audience's laughter.  




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A referee is also present to keep the games moving and call out any fouls. Benson Gardner, a referee for a recent performance of ComedySportz, explained that there are three types of fouls: the waffling foul, which occurs when the scene being performed goes nowhere; the brown bag foul, which happens when any verbal or psychical obscenities occur; and the groaner foul, which occurs if the audience groans due to a player's actions.  




The Fair Oaks Free Agents team recently challenged the Regent Street Rain Delay to a game of \Frasier,"" the television show. Players had to act out the characters based on a setting provided by the audience. One ""Frasier"" fan, Meredith Cadwallader, thought the challenge was fantastic. 




""It was so funny. The Regent Street Rain Delay knew how to act like all the characters. I felt like I was watching a live taping,"" Cadwallader said. 




According to the official ComedySportz Web site,, an average of seven to 12 games are played during a match, drawn from a selection of over a hundred improv games, some of which are made up by the teams themselves. 




ComedySportz is not just a form of entertainment. Many companies and groups use ComedySportz workshops to enhance team building. Other workshops train and recruit new players for ComedySportz.  




""About 95 percent of the troupe went through the workshops,"" said Mark McConville, business manager and ComedySportz player. 




The beginner workshops cover the basic concepts of improv within ComedySportz such as trust, mime and scene building. McConville said the workshops teach people to think in ways they haven't before.  




""They are super fun,"" McConville said. ""There are lots of unwritten rules in improv. It is also helpful for those who are afraid of public speaking."" 




The workshops also attract a variety of people. ""The majority of the people in the workshops are not actors,"" McConville said. ""There are film majors, engineers and pre-med students."" 




Many people do wind up joining the troupe after taking the workshops, but their learning does not stop. 




""We practice every night to hone our skills,"" McConville said. ""It is very important to have a team mind-set."" 




In the recent competition between the Regent Street Rain Delay and the Fair Oaks Free Agents, the team mind-set McConville described was in full action. Players from the Rain Delay team would help the Free Agents team. You wouldn't see that in a NFL game. 




""We try to take what the audience gives us and make it work,"" McConville said. What would Dennis Miller say to that?

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