CSz 2012 World Championship: A Final Glance Back
By Tommy Dively
The smoke has cleared, the dust has settled, the confetti has been swept away, the matches have been played and the workshops taught, and now we are left only with the memories of an incredible weeklong experience. The 2012 ComedySportz World Championship is finally over, leaving Chicago as the new world champions over Los Angeles. Chicago may have won the trophy, but all 21 participating ComedySportz clubs that came out this year took home something that will stay with them for a while. It was a week of great matches, edifying workshops, and most importantly, a chance for friends new and old to celebrate the theater that brought them all together in the first place.
ComedySportz draws many different people to its ranks and that variety was showcased during the week of tournament. Alli Soowal of ComedySportz Philadelphia said she started with ComedySportz just as a way to fill her leisure hours. After spending too many hours “being bored on the couch with nothing to do, so I took classes at ComedySportz and joined in 2007. And now I’m the managing director of Philly.” Darryl Fishwick of ComedySportzUK in Manchester, England had a similar experience, joining the ensemble just from sheer enjoyment of the brand and what it could offer: “I turned up and loved every minute of the show and when I was picked as an audience volunteer in “Sound Effects” I was hooked. At the time ComedySportz UK was running out of a Youth Theatre, meaning it only had a young troupe. I am now about to enter my 10th year of being a ComedySportz UK player and I am one of the longest serving members of CSzUK.”
Hosting duties fell to Chicago this year for the championship week. This is an immense honor for the city, as the last time Chicago hosted was back in 2001. And the city did not disappoint, making it a big event to say the least. “I think the biggest way it was different to my previous tournaments was the sheer scale of it all,” Fishwick says. “The sheer number of improvisers who attended from ComedySportz was the most I had ever seen, and the Athenaeum was the largest venue I’d ever performed in. It was the first time I had ever needed a microphone or to be sound checked for an Improv show, but it all added to the spectacle.” And spectacle it was, as the Athenaeum held up to 500 patrons on the main floor alone as opposed to the 149 capacity of the ComedySportz Chicago Theatre on Belmont.
The championship week was a great opportunity not only for the younger members to workshop and meet their fellow improvisers but also for the tried-and-true veterans of ComedySportz to catch up with old friends and do what they do best: improvise. Patrick Short of ComedySportz Oregon said, “I had more fun playing this time than usual. Partly because of ‘Ref Trainwreck.’ He had bits but reffed the show really well. We let him do his stuff and he let us do our thing in the games. The second half went more off the rails when Chicago played, becoming an actual train wreck,” Short laughs.
The week hit its grand finale Saturday night not only with the long awaited championship match between Chicago and Los Angeles, which Chicago won, but it also featured the humbling All-Star match. It is a great sign of the many players’ respect for one another, as Fishwick attested to, saying, “It was so much fun to be on stage with those guys and gals, players that you yourself have looked up to and wanted to be like and suddenly you are on stage with them.” Soowal, who along with Fishwick was chosen for the All-Star team in a vote by the 200-plus players in attendance, was also very humbled. “Being voted into the All-Star match for the first time was amazing. It was so much fun, just to be silly with the Brits. Being voted by my peers though was a huge honor.” And it was a well-deserved one for all eight players who were voted onto the team.
All in all, it was another championship week of great matches, fascinating workshops and discussions, and a warm and happy celebration of an art form that takes center stage here in Chicago: comedy. And through short form improv with 21 different ComedySportz teams, comedy put on one heck of a show.
ComedySportz Presents our Newest Class, The 100 Proof Comedy Stand-Up Training Program!
Have you ever dreamed of trying stand-up comedy but are just too scared? Is it a passion you are trying to figure out? ComedySportz is introducing a brand new class starting this August and it is the opportunity for you to finally give stand-up the ol' college try.
"Stand-up comedy can be one of the most intimidating activities that a person can pursue." says Jamie Campbell. "Many people are interested in trying stand-up comedy, but they don’t know where to begin. Our program is designed to provide a positive environment that will serve as an introduction to the world of stand-up comedy. If, after taking our first course, you decide that you might want to pursue a career in comedy, the next 2 levels are designed to challenge you, and help you find your voice as you begin your journey." Jamie Campbell has been doing stand-up for years and can offer some invaluable insight into the craft. The level 2 and 3 classes will be offered in the coming terms.
"Stand-up comedians aren’t made in classrooms." says Jamie. "They are made on-stage with hard work, dedication, and relentless persistence. We’re not going to turn you into a professional comedian. If that’s your goal, only you can put in the effort that it takes." This class offers you the chance to test things out, experiment with different bits, and just give it a try in a safe place. Everyone in our classes here at ComedySportz love testing what's funny, so the atmosphere always resembles that attitude.
Jamie's plan for the class is simple, "Our goal is to give you the tools to take your first steps into the world of stand-up comedy." Level 1 being offered next term not only offers great insight into the art of stand-up for beginners, but it is taught by some truly talented stand-up comedians who can show you the ropes.
Meet our instructors:
Jamie Campbell, Sherman Edwards, and Kelsie Huff
recommended for: Those without any experience doing stand-up comedy and newer performers who have been doing stand-up for less than 2 years.
This course will serve as an introduction to the world of stand-up comedy. You don’t have to decide to pursue comedy as a career before taking this course. You just have to decide that you’d like to give it a try! For some of you, this will be an exercise in facing your fears. For some of you, this might be the spark that lights a fire that continues for the rest of your life!
Next term begins on April 9th!
Stand-Up Level 1 classes next term:
DAY TIME INSTRUCTOR
Wednesdays 7-9:50pm Lisa Laureta
Sundays 3-5:50pm Jamie Campbell
This is a brand new class being offered here at ComedySportz and is sure to fill up fast so do not miss out on this chance to either try out what you have always wanted to do, battle a big fear, or just work on your dream of comedy
CSz 2012 Post-Championship Celebration
To celebrate our historic win over Los Angeles in the 2012 ComedySportz World Championship, we're throwing a Post-Championship Celebration at all our ComedySportz shows this weekend, Thursday-Saturday, July 26-28.
We will be hanging our championship banner this weekend as well as offering complimentary champagne toasts to those who can partake, so be sure to come on out and celebrate this new title of "World Champion" for the city of Chicago with us!
Make reservations for what is sure to be a big weekend by calling 773-549-8080. Visit www.comedysportzchicago.com for more information.
Photo: The entire ensemble and staff taking the stage at the Athenaeum after Chicago's victory is announced on July 21, 2012.
After the hype and satisfying conclusion of the ComedySportz World Championship, it is time we take a moment to recognize the many groups who provide us with endless support that helped catapult us to victory. In fact, let's take a whole month to do that. We have such a huge family it will take all of August for us to properly thank them, so join us for a month of celebration.
August 2-4: Alumni Weekend
Former ComedySportz players from across our 25 years will return to the Chicago stage for six matches. So join us as we celebrate the people who make and have made ComedySportz Chicago the home to comedy gold that it has been for the last 25 yearz.
August 9-11: ‘80s Weekend
The decade of ComedySportz Chicago’s birth and its unique cultural contributions will be celebrated in this throwback weekend. So grab your spandex and get ready to break dance the nights away with us!
August 16-18: Lakeview Weekend
Leaders from our neighborhood will join our regular players onstage for some great improv. You do not want to miss out on this chance to thank the local leaders who help make our neighborhood so great!
August 23- 25: Comedy Theater Challenge Weekend
Improv performers from other theaters around the city will challenge the ComedySportz regulars to a series of matches. Many ComedySportz Chicago ensemble members play all over the city doing what they do best: comedy. So help us celebrate the other theater opportunities around the city and recognize how lucky we are to live in the capital of live comedy!
Visit www.comedysportzchicago.com for more information!