Theater Thursday: ComedySportz vs. Theatahh

 

Theater Thursday – October 14th

 

Comedy Sportz vs. Theatahh

at The Comedy Sportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont (map)

comedysportz2ComedySportz vs Theatahh is a great event running the entire month of October.  Every Thursday, guest players from local ensemble theaters will join a team in the 8 p.m. ComedySportz shows. For the event on October 14 there will be a very special guest.  One of the long-time performers at Blue Man Group!   Join ComedySportz at 7 p.m. for a reception with drink specials and, in honor of having a Blue Man (albeit out of make-up) in the house, free Twinkies and Cap’n Crunch!

Event begins at 7 p.m.  Show begins at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $22

For reservations call 773.549.8080 and mention code "Theater Thursdays."

   
   

REVIEW: ComedySportz!

       

Take out normal. Put in family-friendly wacky

        

ComedySportz bows

   
The Comedy Sportz Theatre presents
  
ComedySportz!
   
at The Comedy Sportz Theatre
929 W. Belmont Ave. (map
Open Run  |  tickets: $21  |  more info

Reviewed by Oliver Sava

When ComedySportz begins, the improv competitors run throughout the theater, tossing high-fives to the audience as red and blue lights flash erratically and Darude’s “Sandstorm” blares over the speakers. If that doesn’t sound appealing, then ComedySportz is not for you. Audience participation, flashing lights, and dance music are the formula for this “interactive improv experience,” and are repeated throughout the evening as a reminder that yes, you are having fun. The experience appears to be aimed at the tourist and birthday party crowd with its over-the-top tech and family friendly material, but leaves something to be desired when it comes to real laughs. (fyi: Though not their mainstage show, Comedy Sportz also offers adult-humored late-night shows as well)

ComedySportz is a short-form improv competition between two teams, meaning the actors play games dictated by audience suggestions with points gained by audience applause. It’s basically Who’s Line Is It Anyway? but whereas Who’s Line was presented in half hour segments, the two hour long ComedySportz doesn’t have enough substance or momentum to stay captivating.

I applaud ComedySportz for trying to do family friendly improv, but a rhyming game to the tune of “Da Doo Ron Ron” and a person’s day reenacted as a Shakespeare play aren’t very funny. The humor stays inoffensive by being simple, and it feels like the actors have done the games so many times that the spontaneity of the improv experience has begun to wear off. After a while it becomes the Mad Libs style of improv, where something wacky is inserted for something normal and magically comedy is born, and that gets old very quickly.

The points mean nothing, but the show banks on the illusion of competition to keep the momentum going. The second half was saved by a timed game where everyday tasks were reenacted with absurd substitutions and then guessed (ex. Skiing down a pencil with mashed potato skis and Lego goggles), and while the recreations were standard charades material, the added time limit made the actual challenge a nail biter. The problem is that it still isn’t funny, but they are able to hide behind the thrill of competition.

While the actual games are lacking, the enthusiasm of the actors helps elevate the experience. The seven people on stage (3 on each team, 1 referee) never drop their energy and have great chemistry with one another. The most laughs of the night came from the other players’ criticism of the Red Team’s Kate Cohen for not knowing what the Apostles are, showing that some potentially offensive humor might not be such a bad thing. That kind of freedom is what makes improv exciting, and ComedySportz needs to have games that allow the actors full use of their imaginations if they want to create a worthwhile experience.

   
   
Rating: ★★
   
   

Latest ComedySportz News

FYI: Let ComedySportz host your Bachelor/ette Party today – with the option of clean fun or offensive hilarity. 

   
   

Show openings and closings this week

chicago

show openings

All My Sons TimeLine Theatre

The Darkest Pit Prop Thtr

Texas Sheen Chemically Imbalanced Theater

The Thin Man City Lit Theater

Under Milk Wood Caffeine Theatre

 

chicagoatnight

show closings

Aladdin Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

The Arabian Nights Lookingglass Theatre (our review)

Boys Life Hangar 9 Theatre

Charlotte’s Web Theatre-Hikes

Deal, New Deal Greenhouse Theater Center

Draft Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dual Duel ComedySportz

Frankenmatt The Second City etc

Idiot Tango Annoyance Theatre

Improv Children of the Corn 2 Cornservatory

Improv Open Mic ComedySportz

Lies & Liars Theatre Seven of Chicago (our review)

Misanthrope, or the Impossible Lovers Vintage Theater Collective

My Fair Lady Light Opera Works (our review)

The People in Your Neighborhood ComedySportz

Six Degrees of Separation Eclipse Theatre (our review)

Yellow Gorilla Tango Theatre

Opening and Closing this week

chicago-withboat

show openings

All My Sons TimeLine Theatre

The Darkest Pit Prop Thtr

Texas Sheen Chemically Imbalanced Theater

The Thin Man City Lit Theater

Under Milkwood Caffeine Theatre

 

distant-chicago-skyline

show closings

Aladdin Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

The Arabian Nights Lookingglass Theatre (read our review)

Boys Life Hangar 9 Theatre

Charlotte’s Web Theatre-Hikes

Deal, New Deal Greenhouse Theater Center

Draft Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dual Duel ComedySportz

Frankenmatt The Second City etc

Idiot Tango Annoyance Theatre

Improv Children of the Corn 2 Cornservatory

Improv Open Mic ComedySportz

Lies & Liars Theatre Seven of Chicago (read our review)

Misanthrope, or the Impossible Lovers Vintage Theater Collective

My Fair Lady Light Opera Works (read our review)

The People in Your Neighborhood ComedySportz

Six Degrees of Separation Eclipse Theatre (read our review)

Yellow Gorilla Tango Theatre

Opening and Closing this week

chicago_skyline1

show openings

The Adventures of Nervous Boy Gorilla Tango Theatre

Diva! Diva! Divas!Northwestern University Theater

Jinx Appetite Theatre

The Siren Song of Stephan Jay Gould Gorilla Tango Theatre

Juno and the Paycock The Artistic Home

Savage/Love The Viaduct Theater

A Walk in the Woods Redtwist Theatre

 

Chicago_skyline

show closings

The 9/11 Report La Red Music Theatre

Battleprov ComedySportz 

The Bucktown Stand-Up Show Down Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dead Wrong The Factory Theater

Get Comfortable, a Night of Shorts Gorilla Tango Theatre

Girls vs. Boys American Music Theatre Project and The House Theatre of Chicago

The Great American Nudie Spectacular! Theatre Building Chicago

The Hollow Lands Steep Theatre

Never the Sinner Project 891 Theatre

Scientology! The Unauthorized Musical Annoyance Theatre

Sodomites!!! A Musical of Biblical Proportions Annoyance Theatre

Somewhere in Texas Dream Theatre

Steel Mags Chicago Center for the Performing Arts

Storybox Piven Theatre

Two Spoons Bailiwick Repertory

Walker and Dunn Gorilla Tango Theatre

White Rainbows Gorilla Tango Theatre

Other Christmas Theater and Cultural Events

lawfer_ongreen Strawdog Theatre Company is presenting their annual holiday benefit “Strawdog Yuletacular 2008” on Monday, December 8th, 7-10pm, at Morseland in Rogers Park. The evening will feature a retro-style variety show with comedic sketches, a holiday cooking demonstration, a raffle and silent auction, and live, big-band style music provided by Strawdog’s guest band, The Jenn Rhoads Project. Sounds like fun to me!  Find more info here.

 

 

Steppenwolf Theatre has announced the final extension of their Christmas hit “Dublin Carol”, by playwright Conor McPherson.  The extended closing date will be Sunday, January 4th.  More info here.

comedysportzDue to popular demand, ComedySportz Theatre, now in their new home on Belmont and Clark,  has added extra performances for during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  More info here.

UPDATE: ComedySportz will also be offering New Years Eve performances, at 6pm and 10pm.

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, December 3rd, at 7:30, Loyola University will present its annual Holiday Concert, Joyola,  with performances from the Loyola Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Wind ensemble, University Chorus and Jazz band.  More info here.

JoyolaLG

Happy Halloween!! iO Theater on making fake blood

This morning on NBC5-Chicago, Nick Hausman of iO Theater and ComedySportz shows us the Hitchcock-method of making fake blood.    (Believe me, there’s nothing more amateurish than a theatre production that uses blood that is bright red)

Being that this concoction is mostly chocolate syrup, I love the idea of making “blood sundaes” using the recipe. I bet my nieces and nephews would love it!

By the way, this type of thing is a great way for theater companies to get free press.  I’m not sure if NBC5 sought out Nick or vice versa, but I’m sure that – after seeing this spot on TV – many viewers checked out the theater companies on the web.