COMEDY IN FORMATION – Lake Superior State University's ComedySportz college team goes live at 7 p.m., Dec. 11, on the LSSU Arts Center main stage. Student members will play improvisational comedy as a sport, taking turns making up scenes, playing games and singing songs . . . all while a referee keeps things moving, calls the fouls, and takes improv suggestions shouted out by the audience before each round. Top row, left to right, are Kody Wagner, Kelby Ankerson, John Golob, and Amanda Cady. Bottom, left to right are Hannah Conner, Sam Carter, Jaclyn Schierbeek, Madison Littman, Charlie Hunter, and Jacob Northuis. Tickets are $5 at the door. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hunter)
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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Lake Superior State University debuts its ComedySportz college team at 7 p.m., Dec. 11, on the LSSU Arts Center main stage. Student members will play improvisational comedy as a sport, taking turns making up scenes, playing games and singing songs . . . all while a referee keeps things moving, calls the fouls, and takes improv suggestions shouted out by the audience before each round.
"If you've seen TV's Whose Line Is It Anyway?, you've got the basic idea, although seeing this live show is very different from watching a TV show," says LSSU theater professor Jennifer Hunter, who is forming and directing the team.
"A two-team competitive format ensures a fast-paced, high-energy show. The material is 100% family-friendly. It's the only show I know of where the audience regularly features bachelor parties, church groups, senior citizens, teenagers, kids and adults," says Hunter. "It's a show that entertains everyone and offends no one. And it's fun, because you get to be involved – shouting out suggestions to help decide what the scenes are going to be about and voting for which team makes you laugh the most."
The ComedySportz franchise was started in 1984 in Milwaukee, Wis., by Dick Chudnow, who based it on the competitive Theatresports improvisational techniques of Keith Johnstone from Calgary, Alberta. Expansion began with the addition of Madison, Wis., in 1985. The first Comedy League of America National Tournament was held in 1988, with 10 teams participating. The World Comedy League now has grown to over 20 teams, including teams in Manchester, U.K., and Berlin, Germany.
Hunter has been involved ComedySportz since 2001, when she joined a team in Spokane, Wash. She was the artistic director there for several years until grad school took her to Portland, Ore., where she jumped onto that city's team.
During her years of teaching, Hunter has started and coached teams at both the college and high school levels.
LSSU's ComedySportz team has been preparing for its debut since mid-September, and will be doing regular performances on campus.
"Can ComedySportz College team come to you? Absolutely," says Hunter. "If you have a business, church, or school group we can take the show on the road and customize it especially for you."
E-mail Jennifer Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org to book the team, or call 906-635-2735.
Tickets for the Dec. 11 ComedySportz show are $5 at the Arts Center door.
CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; Prof. Jennifer Hunter, e-mail, 635-2735.