Kristi’s Tips for Making Costumes on a Budget

Anyone who’s wanted to make costumes for Halloween or a kid’s school play can appreciate the challenges of creating a clever costume without spending a lot of money. For ComedySportz’ Kristi Parker-Barnhart, coming up with the multitude of otherworldly designs for the production of The ComedySportz Crew Meets Alice in Wonderland (opening this Saturday, April 7) was a test of her own ability to imagine how items ready to be thrown out could be made into something magical.  “The main way I save money,” she explains, “is by deconstructing things rather than building from scratch. You save a lot of money when you don’t have to buy new fabric.
Thrift stores are the first place to look. We found an old prom dress that will become the Red Queen’s gown.”

More impressive, though, is Kristi’s ability to see potential costumes in everyday household items. An old kitchen chair will become apparel for the Duchess.  “I took the two cushions from the chair and made one of them into the Duchess’s hat and the other into her gown’s bodice.  I also found an old tie-dyed tablecloth that I re-cut into a shirt for our very 1960’s looking caterpillar.” 

The need to improvise using available items hasn’t hindered Kristi’s ability to achieve her vision for the show’s costume design. “We as a creative team decided the best way to create the world of Wonderland was going to be through the costumes.  To make Wonderland an unusual place we’re going to use a palette of strange and mismatched colors – like mustard yellow mixed with greens and blues.” Young audiences will still be urged to use their imaginations in seeing Wonderland, but the colorful costumes Kristi has put together will give them some hints from which to build.

The Cast Will Play While the Bosses Are Away

The annual tradition of “Boss’s Away” weekend will have double the significance and opportunity for surprises this year. While CEO Matt Elwell will again leave town for the annual conclave of ComedySportz World League big shots meeting, this year the show’s Director Sam Super is also absent.  With Sam out of the country on sabbatical, Acting Director Tim Whetham sees this as a major opportunity to try out new, never-before seen games.

“The cast looks forward to this weekend because it’s a chance for them to try out games that are outside of the playbook, making the show more unpredictable than usual. It takes the competitive nature of ComedySportz and explodes that. The competition gets a little wilder and occasionally we see some one-on-one face-offs that get intensely funny.”

You can see for yourself this weekend as long as you promise not to tell Matt and Sam what you see!

Sketch duo opens in Friday midnight slot on April 13th

Sketch may be a different form of comedy than improv, but Pat Dwyer credits the Improv he and Erin Pallesen do at ComedySportz with honing the sketch comedy they perform as Kerpatty. “In improv, we’re constantly reading the audience and adjusting our performance on the spot. Seeing what they’re responding to, we can dial up whatever it is that’s making the crowd laugh in that particular show.  We do the same thing in Kerpatty. Our sketches sometimes follow very tight beats rather than a set script. We know where the sketch starts and where it’s going to end, and there are certain checkpoints along the way, but that still gives us room to improvise in between those points.” They’ll be right at home on the ComedySportz stage for their eight-week run, Fridays at midnight, April 13 through May 25th.

Kerpatty was once again a hit at the Chicago Sketchfest this past January, and some of the material they premiered in that appearance will be performed on the ComedySportz Theatre stage.  “Our material is fun to watch, but hard to describe or categorize,” Dwyer says.  “The best I can do is to say it’s good-natured fun and extremely playful.  We go for belly laughs.”

If words alone can’t give a full picture of what to expect, then take a look at this Kerpatty video called “Milk.”


ComedySportz Chicago to Host ComedySportz World Championship July 18-21, 2012!




The greatest ComedySportz players from the US and Europe will be coming to Chicago this summer to challenge each other for the title of ComedySportz World Champion! As many as 21 teams will face off for this winner-takes-all tournament of improv comedy! Cities invited include Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Portland, Minneapolis, Berlin, Germany and Manchester, UK.  The World Championship will be the centerpiece event of a summer full of activities celebrating our 25th year of performing in Chicago.

Matches will be held from Wednesday, July 18 through Saturday, July 21, 2012. Since we want to be sure we have room for all the ComedySportz fanz from the Midwest and the nation, the teams will be competing at Chicago’s 900-seat Athenaeum Theatre. The Athenaeum is conveniently located at the corner of Lincoln, Southport and Wellington Avenues, just one mile from the ComedySportz Theatre. Parking is available.

For fanz of red and blue ComedySportz teams everywhere, this four-day event is a must-see. For newcomers to ComedySportz, this championship is the best possible introduction to the art and sport of short-form improv comedy – where audiences challenge the players with suggestions for short scenes, songs and games in some of the Western world’s fastest and funniest shows.

Tickets are $25.00 per show and will be available through the Athenaeum Theatre Box Office soon.  If you’re a SuperFan, a weeklong pass may be just the thing. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. To get an alert of our on-sale date, join our e-mail list. (And as a special thank-you for enrolling in our e-mail lists, you’ll get a free ticket to see one of our shows before the Championship Tournament).

For a full list of the ComedySportz Chicago 25th Anniversary Events that will be going on from July through September, click here.