If you’ve ever wondered how to keep up with the nonstop energy of a toddler, the answer might be improvisation. For ComedySportz ensemble member Melissa Cathcart, mother of 2-year-old Colin, improv training applies to parenting in more ways than just creating new verses of “The Wheels on the Bus.” “I think improv has made me more adaptable which has helped me weather the ups and downs of parenthood,” says Cathcart.
Fellow ensemble member Alida Vitas-Dow, mother of 9-month-old Sofia, agrees. “At ComedySportz, you have to have the skill of thinking quickly. This has definitely helped me with my little one, especially now that she's moving around the house. I have to think quickly to divert her attention from something dangerous or to just keep her attention.”
Improvisation encourages skills like listening, playfulness and being fully aware. Not surprisingly, these translate naturally to parenting. “I definitely use my heightened listening skills around Sofia. She can only say a few words now but I watch and listen for her cues to see what she wants - just as I do onstage with whomever I'm in a scene with,” says Vitas-Dow.
But improv isn’t all about fooling around for laughs. There are also some valuable life lessons that can be learned. “I hope Colin grows up to be someone who says ‘yes and,’” says Cathcart. “There is so much more possibility and room for growth when we support and build on each other's ideas.”
Vitas-Dow says, “I want to teach Sofia that the present moment is all you have, so have fun and pay attention to what is going on right now - in this very moment - just as you would onstage.”
It’s a common saying that comedians aren’t born, they’re made. And often, that process starts at home with the family. For many ComedySportz ensemble members, their mothers have had an important role in their comedic development.
For ensemble member Rance Rizzutto, making his mom laugh was a good tactic for staying out of trouble. “My mom is always pretty good-hearted,” says Rizzutto. “Any time she might have gotten mad at me as a child I knew I would be able to make her laugh. She could never stay mad and I had plenty of practice.”
Now his mother is happy that he’s found a professional outlet for his comedy. “My mom loves ComedySportz. I think she always has a suggestion for Blind Line and 5 Things ready for each show she sees,” says Rizzutto.
Lisa Linke found that humor was key in connecting with her family. “I remember laughing a lot with my mom and my grammy - I really learned the value of laughter as a way to spend time with family.” She even picked up a few choice one-liners. “My Grammy turns 101 this June and she taught me all my jokes (that I can’t use in CSz shows).”
Other ensemble members have received plenty of encouragement from their mothers. “My mom has the best laugh. Making her laugh is the best feeling in the world,” says Ryan Williams.
Rich Baker says, “My mom loves seeing my shows. After seeing me perform with ComedySportz for the first time she said, ‘It's so impressive. And I love the jerseys.’"
Some mothers go above and beyond to see their child perform. “My mom loves ComedySportz so much, she booked us to perform at her birthday party,” says Tim Ryder. “Until I introduce her to Oprah, nothing I do professionally will make her as happy as seeing me in a ComedySportz show.”
ComedySportz says thank you to all of our moms and to moms everywhere.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Chicago Bosses Win in 25-14 Victory
In a prelude to the Bulls-76’ers first round game of the NBA Playoffs, Chicago’s ComedySportz club on Friday, April 27th, won its match against players from ComedySportz Philadelphia.
In an amazing coincidence, the ComedySportz match between Chicago and Philadelphia was scheduled long before the Bulls and the 76’ers were paired in the playoffs.
Competing for Chicago was Rene Duquesnoy, Jamie Campbell and Rance Rizzutto. Philadelphia’s team was Alli Soowal, Kristen Finger and Jason Stockdale.
The Chicago and Philadelphia clubs are two members of the 21-team World Comedy League, an association of independently owned teams that license the ComedySportz name and concept. Inter-city games are rare, except for the annual ComedySportz World Championship in which teams from across the U.S. and Europe meet in one of the league cities for a four-day competition. This year’s Championship will be held in Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre from July 18-21 and teams from 19 U.S. cities plus Manchester, U.K. and Berlin, Germany are expected to attend.
For interviews with the players and a sample of the action, check out this video.
Harbinger of NBA Playoff Victory for the Bulls?
In what could be a foreshadowing of the first round of the NBA Playoffs – in which the top-seeded Chicago Bulls are expected to face the Philadelphia 76’ers – players from Chicago’s ComedySportz club will host a match against players from ComedySportz Philadelphia at the local club’s 10 PM show on Friday, April 27th. The two teams of improv comedy performers will compete for the audience’s love and votes, with the winner earning a coveted trophy as well a good share of local pride.
Competing for Chicago will be Rene Duquesnoy, Jamie Campbell and Rance Rizzuto. Philadelphia will field an away team consisting of Alli Soowal, Kristen Finger and Jason Stockdale. The action will begin at 10 PM and tickets can be reserved by phone at 773-549-8080 or online at Ticketmaster.com.
The Chicago and Philadelphia clubs are two members of the 21-team World Comedy League, an association of independently owned teams that license the ComedySportz name and concept. Inter-city games are rare, except for the annual ComedySportz World Championship in which teams from across the U.S. and Europe meet in one of the league cities for a four-day competition. This year’s Championship will be held in Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre from July 18-21 and teams from 18 U.S. cities plus Manchester, U.K. and Berlin, Germany are expected to attend.
Here are Philadelphia's Players, who look very frightened at the prospect of playing against a Chicago Blue team!