ComedySportz misses the punch line

ComedySportz, an improv team based in the Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis, brought their unique brand of comedy to the Reilly Room Oct. 2.

The event was sponsored by the Student Government Association.

The improv troupe was about 30 minutes late to the show—a big delay considering the show was scheduled  until 1 a.m.

ComedySportz is a trained group of professional comedians that perform improvisational comedy based on topics chosen by the “loyal fanz”—the audience.

Improvisational comedy is done on the spot unlike stand-up comedy which is planned.

The company, World Comedy League, Inc., was founded in 1984 and has improv groups in cities across the United States and in a few other countries.

The company’s Web site, indycomedysportz.com, says the show is “great for all ages” involving an audience of “everyone from kids to college students to parents to grandparents.” The comedians were a half hour late and did not start until 10:10 p.m.

The flyers said free food, so it couldn’t be that bad. A table of chicken wings, mini-burgers, brownies, and rice crispy squares greeted us as we made our way to the line by the food table.

“SGA does a fairly good job of coming up with events, it’s just that they don’t advertise well enough or students are too busy to attend” Butler junior and spectator Ashley Merryman said.

The ComedySportz group is made up of teams of two, each man dressed in a red or blue baseball-like t-shirt which divided them into two teams.

And of course—as in all sports—there was a referee.

The rules of the night were made clear from the beginning:  if you’re not laughing we’re doing something wrong.

The referee explained he would blow his whistle for “fouls” such as inappropriate comments, stupid puns and dull jokes and explaining each of the hand signals that would be going along with each of the fouls.

Points were given to each team and in the end the winning team was chosen by the audience.

The first game played was a word game in which one player from each team went head to head saying only one word at a time about a topic chosen by the audience without pausing, using made-up words or repeating the same word twice.

A second game “emotional barn-yard symphony,” was played during which, each performer was given an animal and an emotion to act out in song.

I felt like I was watching a blend of ABC’s “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” and Nickelodeon’s “Figure it out.”

Whistles were constantly blown at the red team for messing up the games, giving points to the blue team, whom I found to be less funny.

As expected, some of the comedians were better than others and some just tried too hard.

Often more impressive than the professional performers were the Butler students who not only surprised the audience with their eagerness to participate but also with their comedic abilities.

Who would have known we had our own group of comedians right here?

“My favorite was probably the part where Butler students got to participate,” Merryman said.

The act had its share of laughs and snores as the performance moved its way late into the night, ending around 1 a.m.

The Web site says that “every show is different, with different players, different games and different audiences supplying new suggestions,” so while I never found myself buckling over in laughter, I wouldn’t completely say no to seeing it again, especially if there’s free food.


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