ComedySportz Twin Cities ready to celebrate 25 years
Image courtesy ComedySportz Twin Cities
For two and a half decades, improv battles have raged on at ComedySportz Twin Cities, with teams of performers entertaining numerous audiences throughout the years.
In September, the Uptown institution celebrates 25 years with a month of events.
Doug Ocar, one of the owners of the local group, has been involved with the improv competition for 24 years, starting out at the ComedySportz in Kansas City.
Ocar went to an audition with his then girlfriend -- now wife -- after being encouraged by a coworker. "[ComedySportz] chose me, but they really wanted my wife, I later found out. Then right away, she moved away and I stayed," he says.
"[ComedySportz is a] competition-style improv show. We have our players in two teams, and we have a ref who is the host of the show. We take suggestions from the audience for the improv structures," Ocar says.
So, that's like any improv. It's the addition of teams and scores and a final "winner" that gives ComedySportz its particular appeal.
Making it a competition, "makes it an easy format for the audience to follow along and engage in the show," Ocar says. "It's important for the audience to have their moment in the sun by yelling out a suggestion or to pull up audience volunteers to perform with us."
"People love the format. What happens in that particular game is different each time," Ocar says.
The goal is to make a show for everyone. "Families can come and see a show together, while at the same time a couple on a date does not feel like they are at a kids' show," Ocar says.
The Minneapolis ComedySportz has about 40 members. "We do have rehearsals twice a month when we work on basic and advanced skills. We sometimes have outside people come in. Once we had a Shakespeare workshop with an actor from the Guthrie," Ocar says.
The local ComedySportz is part of a national group, which has locations in 23 cities across the country. There are gatherings, like the annual national championship, where they get together to trade ideas.
The improv landscape has changed over the past 25 years, with the development and addition of several groups, as well as the opening of Huge Theater, which serves as a home for numerous improv troupes.
"In the early days, they could perform with us but there weren't as many other venues. Now I have a bigger group to do the multiple shows," Ocar says. "Nobody gets burned out. Everything is fresher. It gives options for performers, and for the audience members to see other great shows."
IF YOU GO:
ComedySportz Twin Cities 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Special anniversary events planned for Sept. 18-20 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis $12-$14 For tickets, show schedule and more information, call 612.870.1230 or visit online.
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