ComedySportz shows Hamline the art of improv

Family-friendly comedy group brings a night of laughter to campus.

The cast of ComedySportz showed Hamline students and family that clean-comedy doesn’t have to be dull.

Hosted by the Hamline Activities Board, four members of the ComedySportz improv group came to campus for Hamline’s family weekend. Cast members included Justin Betancourt, Anna Weggel,  Nate Hessburg, and Troy Zimmerman. The team proved to be experts at quick-wit and keeping a large crowd entertained.

Showcasing an interactive and competitive approach to comedy, ComedySportz has made appearances on both local and national television, and has various locations across the country. Unlike stand-up, ComedySportz performances work best when the audience actively participates.

“Does anyone have a weird last name?” asked Zimmerman, the nights “referee.” He encouraged the crowd to get involved in each activity, asking everyone to shout out adjectives, professions and even their own names to fuel each fun-filled activity. Activities included, “stories that have never been told,” Mad Libs, Game of Four Corners and Dr. Know-it-all, where participants take turns giving one-word answers to philosophical questions to form a single sentence. Volunteers from the audience were invited on stage to get a taste of what it means to think on their feet, and were gifted ComedySportz tickets for their bravery.

In honor of Hamline’s Family Weekend, the performance was kept squeaky-clean. Zimmerman explained that if any inappropriate language is used during family-friendly performances, the referee calls “Brown Bag Foul” and places a paper bag over your head. The cast usually saves their more mature material for their Saturday night performances at the ComedySportz theatre.

On their Minneapolis website, ComedySportz advertises, “light-hearted insanity that appeals to people from every walk of life.” They achieved just that, as the crowded space was filled with laughs and applause throughout the night.

The referee concluded the performances with a simple piece of advice for possible future improv comedians: “If something isn’t funny, just keep doing it.”

While their Hennepin Avenue theatre is the main hotspot for performances, the Twin Cities’ ComedySportz cast travels to college campuses, churches, office parties and anywhere a good laugh is needed.

General (clean) performances at the ComedySportz theatre are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with tickets at $12 for students. Late night performances are Fridays (The Game Show) and Saturdays at 10:30pm, with tickets at $10 for students. The ComedySportz theatre is located on the corner of West Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue South, and tickets can be bought ahead of time online or by phone.