The Laughter Olympics
by Elizabeth Lewin
ComedySportz World Championship comes to town
Though the days of watching Drew Carey on Whose Line Is It Anyway? are long gone the hankering for solid improv comedy seems just as strong.
Now, if you’re reading this thinking to yourself, “Whose What Is It...?” Allow me to break it down for you, imagine an audience, a set, jokes, commentary, comedians and a unique montage of improvisational skits fueled by audience participation. That show, and others like it, are spontaneously designed to make people laugh, which is easier said than done.
2013 ComedySportz World Championship
Town Ballroom, 681 Main Street
Tickets start $12, all proceeds will benefit Carly’s Club at Roswell Park
Something can be said about possessing the ability to make people laugh organically—nothing practiced, nothing perfected, just bare-boned comedy in its most authentic form.
Improvisation is an art—thoughts, actions, reactions designed to take people out of their world and into a fun, enjoyable environment where worries melt away. That’s what makes improv shows, on the tube or on a stage, exciting to watch.
Richard Satterwhite, Vice-President and Special Projects Coordinator for Buffalo ComedySportz, an interactive improvisational competition licensed by the World Comedy League, shared some interesting insight on what attracts people to this sport, not just Buffalonians, but people worldwide:
“This is one of the most unique comedic experiences people will ever experience. Unlike stand-up, it’s interactive. It’s designed for the audience to participate in a safe environment,” Satterwhtie says. “This is a family-friendly event; it’s not about offending people, this is about making them feel good. It’s about bringing laughter into the community and into people’s homes,”
The existence of the sport goes back 29 years. Dick Chudnow, founder of the Kentucky Fried Theater and mastermind behind movies like Airplane! and Spy Kids, founded ComedySportz.
Imagine the Olympics, but instead of swimming or gymnastics, participants are competing against one another in...comedy. This sporting event features some of the world’s top professional improvisational players, all of whom trained professionally in ComedySportz for years, some dating back to the early 1980’s.
In addition to hosting local homeshows, Buffalo ComedySportz offers classes, holds fundraisers and travels on the road customizing shows designed to make people laugh their socks off.
Fast forward to 2013 and the ComedySportz World Championship is about to be underway for the first time in Buffalo.
“We originally started off as more of a nomadic tribe. We would perform at various venues around the Western New York area. We spent a few years here and there and ultimately, about five years ago, we found a permanent space on 4476 Main Street, right around the corner from Daemen College,” Satterwhite says. “Having our own space really opened up the doors for us as a group and as a company. Now we have weekly shows and the luxury of inviting other groups from all over to perform here as well.”
Today, ComedySportz has people laughing in more than 21 cities across the United States and Europe. Improv is instantaneous. It’s fueled by the response from the audience, Satterwhite says. “The audience helps create what they see—we build off of them.”
Every year 22 ComedySportz cities get together at the World Comedy Championship where the players come together to compete publicly for bragging rights and the beloved title of World Champion. This year, Buffalo is already on top, as the host city for the 2013 tournament.
From July 10 through July 13, some of the funniest men and women on the planet will gather together right here in the Queen City and compete at the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) in downtown Buffalo to showcase their one-of-a-kind talent.blog comments powered by Disqus
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