By JULIAN BASKYS
University High School (UHS) students performed in another outstanding Comedy Sportz match on Friday, October 24th. According to UHS Comedy Sportz Captain Austin Barber (Jr.), “Comedy Sportz is a competitive adult improv group in LA that branched off and created the [Comedy Sportz] High School league.” Each month, the UHS Comedy Sportz team performs improv in front of a live audience in the big theater.
Members who tried out for the team this year were debuted during October’s match in the “opener.” Barber said, “I picked my team this year based on kids who were comfortable with themselves. Confidence is key.” During the opener, the red team showcased Liquin Zhu (Sr.), Amina Khelif (Fr.), Laura Yang (So.) and Captain Francisco Lazo (So.), while the blue team consisted of Anahita Amirshahi (Fr.), Ellena Eshaghi (Fr.), Cassidy Haeri (Fr.) and Captain James Gui (Jr.). Barber said, “I thought our new players played so well and acted professionally on stage.” Their success was confirmed by the enthusiasm of the audience.
After the opener came the first half of the match. The red team, led by Eli Tita (Jr.), included old players Corrine Alsop (So.), Yamini Nambimadom (Jr.) and Brandon Kaufman (So.). The blue team consisted of Alex Gilmartin (So.), Riley Duncan (Jr.), Noah Obstfeld (Jr.) and its captain Barber. One of the most memorable parts of the first match was the game “Expert Panel.” The blue team acted out a game show in which people call in questions, and then receive strange and hilarious advice from the underqualified “expert” panel.
During the second half of the match, Obstfeld and Duncan switched to the red team, of which Obstfeld was captain, and Tita and Josie Bachman (So.) joined the blue team. In Comedy Sportz, teams score more points when their players complement each other’s sense of humor. During the second half of the match, Barber and Tita did exactly this, working well together as teammates and making the audience laugh even harder.
The red team performed a scene for the game “YearBook Photo,” in which members depicted a club called The Cowboy Boot Club taking its yearbook photo. Certain members of the club displayed a bizarre fascination with spurs, eliciting uncontrollable laughter from the audience. The final score of the match was 34-30 for the blue team.
The audience on Friday night loved the performance of the players. Adam McDermott (Sr.) said, “Comedy Sportz is a great alternative form of entertainment to our athletics.” Though not every joke attempted turns out to be very funny, the audience loves to see the players do their best and come up with whatever they can. The possibility of failure is part of the excitement, and more importantly, failure is met with open arms, rather than scorn. Kathy Flores (Jr.) said, “I love the energy of the room. The audience is very into the performance, and so we have a great dynamic between the performers and the people in the house.”
Yamini Nambimadom (Jr.), a returning player to the team said of her experience on Comedy Sportz since her sophomore year, “I think it has increased my confidence and my ability to think on my feet. Never be afraid to fail big – playing it safe doesn’t get you anywhere.”