A ComedySportz match was held in UIndy Hall on Sept. 28, with a student turnout that filled every seat. ComedySportz is a game-based, improvisational comedy show that emphasizes audience participation, similar to the popular television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
The match included an array of games that involved the red and blue ComedySportz teams and a referee who frequently called on the audience for suggestions. Recent University of Indianapolis graduate Nate Coder played as a member of the red team. He said he was excited to return to UIndy to play for his former fellow students.
“I like going anywhere to do a ComedySportz match,” Coder said. “But it’s always fun to just come here and see people that I haven’t seen in a while. There were a lot of people in the crowd that I knew, and there were also a lot of new faces, which is really exciting.”
Although the match technically does have a trophy that either team can win, the main objective of the game is having fun and making the audience laugh, rather than winning. The points each team receives during the match are determined by the applause at the end of the match. Essentially, the winning team is the one that receives the most audience praise overall. Coder contrasted his degree in theatre from UIndy to what he does in ComedySportz.
“I love the fact that every single time we go up there, it’s going to be something completely new,” Coder said. “I actually graduated and got a theatre degree from here [UIndy], and it’s a different beast, because when you go on stage, you always know the script. You know what you’re going to have and how things go. But with ComedySportz, you get to go up there and just play and have fun. It’s one big game of pretend, almost.”
Coder also had some advice for people planning to see a ComedySportz match for the first time, about what they should expect.
“One thing I’ve seen with a lot of first-timers is some apprehension, and I would just say, ‘Let go of everything when you come in the door,’” Coder said. “I think that if you go into it with a completely open mind and just get into it, you will have a blast.”
According to Aaron Stillerman, captain of the blue team, the best matches are the ones in which not only the players are having fun, but the audience as well, which was the case at the UIndy match.
“It was a good crowd,” Stillerman said. “They were really loud and we had lot of people yelling out suggestions. Sometimes we’ll get big crowds like that, and they won’t be responsive. The only other college I [have] played at was Indiana Wesleyan, and it was for a welcome dinner. And it was one of those crowds that wasn’t responsive.”
The match took place over nine separate games, including four head-to-head games and five team games. One game, “Advice Panel,” even involved an audience member who was pulled onstage to act as an expert on a fake advice show; the student and the other players took questions from the audience, giving them bad, humorous advice to solve their “problems.” In this particular game, Coder played one of the “experts,” acting as a self-titled “menacing college-debt collector.”
Sophomore art education therapy major Liv Reuter found the match funny and enjoyable.
“Honestly, I thought the ComedySportz match was just super fun,” she said. “I really liked Three Rooms, the game where they had to use the previous team’s sentence in their situation, which was really funny.”
ComedySportz Indianapolis regularly performs at 721 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, in the Theatre District of Mass Ave.