Graham Kanwit | Staff Writer
In many sports, one moment can mean the difference between victory and defeat. As junior Isaac Outland knows, this is also true of ComedySportz–one bad joke and the entire audience can turn against you. However, as one of the more experienced members of the team, Outland is always prepared to bring his best to ComedySportz matches.
“I’ve been doing comedy sports camp for 5 years,” Outland said. “But, I’ve been to matches and had experience with comedy sports since I was five.”
Since 6th grade, Outland’s schedule has been filled with ComedySportz camp and other theater ventures.
“I come from a theater background,” Outland said. “Improv is just one of the many ways of theater. It helps me step out of my comfort zone and molt out of my shell, if you will.”
Outland’s theater background comes from his mother, who inspired Outland to try the sport for himself.
“I was looking up to my mom, who started it before me,” Outland said. We were sitting in Joe’s Diner, when she randomly asked me if I thought she should do comedy sports. She tried it and got in. Her experience inspired me. I wanted to try it, and to my surprise, I was actually okay at it.”
While Outland’s comedy sports activities started out as just a hobby, it became much more when he got to high school.
“The high school team blew my mind,” Outland said. “I was lucky enough to make varsity my sophomore year.”
The varsity team has a rigorous schedule each year. During the first semester, they focus on building the team, and begin playing matches in the second semester. The team has 12-15 members who participate in matches that are an hour to an hour and a half long. These matches involve mini-games such as 4v4 matchups, improv, head to head games and team games. In some games, the ref awards points, while the audience awards points in others.
“The schedule is usually a head-to-head game, then each team does a game by themselves, then another head-to-head, and it repeats. Sometimes there’s also a pun game,” said Outland.
The head to head games typically involve the teams acting out various improv situations against each other, with the winning team being awarded higher points by the judge. There are several different varieties of head-to-head games in each match.
“My personal favorite game is advice panel because it lets you create a character,” said Outland. “You never know how you’re going to use it.”
Advice panel involves three panelists and a host. The host of the game asks the audience if they need any advice questions and the panelists have to answer the questions in character.
“Part of what I like about it is that pretty much every answer is wrong,” said Outland.
Games like advice panel have become a part of Outland’s regular routine. However, these games are not the only opportunity for him to showcase his improv skills. He also participates in a week-long summer camp each year.
“The camp is mostly about training your improv skills,” said Outland. “It’s four hours a day for a week. Then we showcase games at the end of the week.”
Despite the demanding schedule of the sport, Outland is quick to point out the positives of participating.
“It’s just a fun, open community,” said Outland. “We welcome all different types of people. Anyone can join.”
In a sport where one joke can mean the difference between a win and a loss for a team, an open community atmosphere may be exactly what the team needs.