NEW SHOWS IN A NEW VENUE!

ComedySportzRounded

Beep! Beep! Beep!

What’s that beeping? That’s the sound of us moving to our new performance space!

Starting Friday, June 13th, Comedy Sportz NYC will be doing a limited run, Fridays, at THIS Theater & THAT Gallery; at 154 West 29th Street! Does that address seem familiar to you? If you’ve been on the New York comedy scene for at least five or six years, you might remember it as The Peoples Improv Theater’s former address, from 2002-2010. In fact, this is where I used to work as an intern and had some of my first PIT class shows. Lot’s of great memories and our CSz NYC team is excited to be a part of the first shows, in the inaugural year of THIS Theater.

Owned by The PIT and Simple Studios owner, Ali Reza Farahnakian, THIS Theater & THAT Gallery was beautifully renovated over the past few months into the “classic 60 seat black box theater,” that we’ll be playing at this month. The stage is similar to the PIT’s Striker Mainstage, with double side entrance stage doors, a center wall round-about and stadium seating. Can’t wait to do some “Honey, I’m home/I just got this awesome info to share” entrances from one of those doors.

Come check us out! We’ll be there every Friday in June @ 8pm; starting on June 13th.

GET TICKETS HERE!!!

 

 

Player Spotlight: James Rana

james-ranaThis post is dedicated to our next player celebrating a spring birthday: James Rana.

James Rana, born on May 6th, is probably the most debonaire and cultured member of our ComedySportz New York team, although he would be highly embarrassed to read that or even be told so–he is equally as humble as his voice is smooth. (If you’ve ever heard him speak on stage or through our speakers, as Mr. Voice, you know this to be true.) He’s so smooth, you would never have guessed that he’s from Teaneck, New Jersey. (I’m from New Jersey, so I get to say that.)

A lover of tuxedos and all things related to the arts, James got his start in the world of physical comedy, through a birthday gift of juggling lessons given to him by his aunt. He loved it so much that he almost applied to Ringling Clown College, but of course his parents were not thrilled with that idea.

Not being dissuaded, he continued to study juggling, clowning and some physical theater while in college. He jokes that when it was time to go to college, since he grew up in Teaneck, “[he] decided that it was time to get out of Teaneck, so [he] went to Fairleigh Dickinson University…in Teaneck.”

That isn’t to say that he didn’t want to move on from the Garden State. At 19, after watching a lot of SCTV and reading the improvisation manual Truth in Comedy, he wrote to Charna Halpern (co-founder of the ImprovOlympic) who surprisingly wrote back, extending an invitation to come to Chicago. However, being unsure of his ability to survive on his own in Chi-Town, he stayed and became immersed in every possible form of artistic study: from acting to dance to the radio station at FDU.

I believe that one of the things that makes James a fun player is his dedication to learning, which led to the many opportunities that he has acquired as a professional performer. His resume is a dizzying list of skills: Renaissance Faire man, children’s theater, balloon sculptor, fire eater, stilt walker (he leads the Mermaid Parade as Uncle Sam on stilts every summer at Coney Island), Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Law and Order: SVU, Santa Claus, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Big Apple Circus and on and on.

In addition to his performances, James has also created and produced a documentary on Edgar Allan Poe, distributed by NPR, and has written several plays, including “The Poe Mysteries” and adapted versions of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Zorro,” which will premiere in July (look for more info on that in the summer).

So, with all of this under his belt, of course my question was, “why did you decide to audition for ComedySportz?” In true James Rana form, his answer was “I thought it would help me become a better performer.” He went on to say, “I’ve enjoyed watching myself grow” and “feel more confident.” He recalls that early on there was a feeling of “being like a deer in the headlights” but now he’s embracing that there’s “something wonderful about going on that stage and you do not know what’s going to happen. That’s a scary thing but it’s also a beautiful thing.” Well said, James.

His favorite game is Dead Serious (Serious Scene). He comments that it’s “like a really bad version of a soap opera. It’s a fun way to really get to act.” He’s also “fallen in love with 3 Things.”

Now, there’s plenty more that I can say about James, and I will later in the summer, as we get closer to the premier of his adapted version of “Zorro;” but for now I will leave you with what he would want to tell himself a year from now: “Keep breathing.”

10 Things You Should Know About…

It’s finally Spring in NYC!! We can tell by 3 things: 1. People start wearing shorts even though its only 45 degrees. 2. ComedySportz NYC’s 10 Year Anniversary was April 26th 3. Several of our Playerz are having birthdays back to back. Find out about two of them (one being me) in a segment below, that I just made up, called:

Ten Things You Should Know About MJC and MFT

1. Full Name

2. Birth Day

April 15th

April 18th

3. Hometown

Philadelphia, PA

East Orange / Montclair, NJ

(Lived equal amounts of time in both cities)

4. College

Syracuse University

Temple University

Seton Hall University then transferred in my “Junior Year” to

William Paterson University

5. Studied Improv at….

Random improv workshop in Philly

Second City, Toronto

Players Workshop @ Second City, Chicago

Improv Olympic, Chicago

The Peoples Improv Theater

Upright Citizens Brigade

6. Teams That You’ve Been On

The Edmund Fitzgerald (iO) Aug. 1993

One Night Stand (iO) Oct.-Dec. 1993

Distant Cousins (iO) Jan.-Mar. 1994

Mr. Blonde (iO) Jan.-Nov ’94;

May – Jul. ’95

ComedySportz Chicago – Oct.’94-Apr ‘96

Annie Sprinkle (iO) – Jan.-Mar 1996

ComedySportz Philadelphia –

Apr ‘97 – Nov ‘00

Lunchlady Doris  – Sept ’97 – Jun ‘00

ComedySportz NYC – Dec ‘00-Nov ‘01; Oct. 2011-present

Myth Reduction – Nov. 2001- 2002

Corpa –  ? – Sept. 2002

Jonathan Maximus Rockenstern Presents (indie/PIT) Sept. 2002-Aug. 2003

Let’s Get Serious (PIT) ?-? 2003

Side Project  – ?-? 2004

Butter (The Project/Magnet) Sept ‘04-Nov ‘05; Nov. 2006

The Rebecca Factory (The Project/Magnet) – Jan.-Jun. 2006

CON (Magnet) Feb.-Mar. 2007

The Class Of… (Magnet/indie) Jan.-Mar. 2008; Jun. 2010

“I’m forgetting some.”

The Indoor Kids – 2008 – 2009

Brenda! – 2010 – 2011

Michelin – 2011 – Present

Nobody’s Token – 2011 – 2012

ComedySportz NYC – 2012 – Present

Scandal-prov – 2012

Midnight Society – 2013

Thomas, Newman, Parker and Murphy – 2013

Trauma Center – 2013

The Pin-Up Squirrels – 2013

Yes, Chef! (The PIT) – 2013 – Present-ish

Gas Station Horror – 2014 – Present

7. When/How Did You Get Involved With ComedySportz?

“The night of Mr. Blonde’s last show, my friend Bill was in the audience and came up to me (while I was depressed (and thinking) “There’s nothing after this. I’m going back to Philly. I’m done here. I’m not gonna get on another iO team because nothing’s going to be as good”) and said “You know ComedySportz auditions are next week You’re auditioning, right?”

I said “No. I do long form. I do slow comedy. I can’t do that fast stuff.” Bill said, “Oh, you don’t have to be fast, you just have to be quick.” To this day, I have no idea what that means but somehow it got me to audition.”

“I saw the audition notice on Backstage.com. I already had experience in short form through volunteering with an organization called Cherub Improv, but I wasn’t sure if “short form was for me,” but I figured I at least knew enough games to have fun in the audition. I did. I got a call back and the rest is history.”

8. Favorite ComedySportz game

Heavy Rotation. “We don’t play it in NYC because it’s better with four players. It’s crazy.”

Fairytale Half-Life

9. Favorite Color to Play As

“I like the color blue better, so maybe blue, but maybe red so I get to see the blue uniforms on the other team.”

“Red, of course.”

10. Favorite Moment As An Audience Member and/or Player

“I can’t tell my favorite moment on a family website, but my second favorite moment was in 1998, when I was in ComedySportz Philadelphia, and Tom McManus proposed to his now-wife, Micheline, on stage during New Choice (they were both CSz players). She was wearing a wacky yellow shower cap.”

“A few months ago, we did an All-Skate Day in the Life Musical. I enjoyed playing the main character; an 8th grade girl that went to a boarding school. During her story, she mentioned that a “new girl” on the team fell when they were playing ice hockey. During our rendition, after the “new girl” fell, everyone started laughing, so I said, “Hey, guys, we’re better than that,” and began to help her up but then skated past her to score. (As I imagined she might have wanted to do in real life.)”

*11. Bonus – If you were to read this interview a year from now, what would you want to tell your future self?

“I hope you’re still doing this.”

“Slow motion is better than no motion. Keep moving forward.”

 

 About the Author: Michelle Francesca Thomas is a five-year improv veteran, an Essex County, NJ, native, and a lover of comedy. She has studied improv at the PIT and UCB and can been seen performing with ComedySportzNYC at the Broadway Comedy Club.

Ten Years in NYC, Thirty Years Around the World!

ComedySportz NYC might have just turned 10 this past weekend, but this June the national ComedySportz is turning 30!

We’re excited to announce that on June 18, all ComedySportz teams across the globe will get to reveal to our Loyal Fans the **brand new** ComedySportz logo. The big unveiling ceremony is taking place at ComedySportz Milwaukee (the birthplace of ComedySportz!) during our annual World Championship and 30th anniversary celebration.

Can’t be with us in Milwaukee for the World Championships? Not to worry – we’ll be paying tribute to the past 30 years with fun activities and contests in our shows when you visit. After June 18th? Stick with us for the revolution and find out. See you there! #CSz30”

ComedySportz NYC Celebrates Mother’z Day!

photo Mom deserves a break. You know it; we know it; if there’s one thing for sure, she knows it. And there’s no better way to ease the stress and strain of Mom-itude than to have a good laugh. So on May 10, the day before the big day (so this also serves as a reminder to buy her flowers), we’re presenting an extra-special show—and moms get in FREE!

 Here what’s happening: On Saturday, May 10 at 6 pm, our ComedySportz NYC home team, the mighty Manhattan Muggers, will take on their most powerful and feared opponents yet: a team of all MOMS! That’s right, some of our most hilarious act-letes are mothers themselves, and they’re going to send the Muggers packing (after making sure they have their hats and gloves, of course—these things matter to the Mater).

It all happens at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd Street. Tickets are $15 in advance/$20 at the door. But not for moms! No, we’re picking up the tab for dear mother. All you have to do is enter the discount code MOMMY when you purchase your tickets.

 ComedySportz NYC’s Mother’z Day show: the comedy show that’ll make her kvell about how wonderful her little darlings are

GET TICKETS HERE!

10th Anniversary After Party Announced!

10th.001

 

 

On Saturday, April 26 at 6 pm, a shrewdly selected roster of ComedySportz NYC all-stars will pull out all the stops (as well as the champagne corks) (champagne not guaranteed) (champagne really, really not guaranteed) and perform a spectacular Match of the Decade consisting entirely of the improv gamez our fanz love most! It all goes down at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd Street. Tickets are $15 in advance/ $20 at the door. And for this special occasion only, our show will be 90 minute long with an intermission! GET TICKETS HERE!

Then, after the show, we’ll head over to the very copacetic 3 Monkeys Bar and Restaurant (236 W 54th Street) to continue the celebration with our loyal fanz! Yeppers, this night is all about the fanz who have kept us going for a whole decade.

 

IMPROV 202 ANNOUNCED!

At long last, here is the information you have been waiting for…

We are excited to announce our Improv 202 class is starting this April!

In our Improv 202 Class, students will build on the fundamentals from Improv 101.  This level will focus specifically on scene work and how it is applied to short form comedic scene structures. All students must have attended Improv 101 to enroll.
The class will be held on April 19 – May 24 from 12 – 2pm @ The Broadway Comedy Club.
You can learn more and sign up here: http://www.csznewyork.com/improv-classes/
Students who register before April 1, 2014 and use the promo code EARLYBIRD202 will receive $75 off the 6 week registration! 
 
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10th Anniversary Spectacular!

ComedySportz New York is excited to announce our 10th Anniversary Spectacular!photo-11

We were laughing so hard, we didn’t even notice ten years rush by. Why, when we started, there was no such thing as an iPad…Netflix was sending us DVDs in red envelopes…and Howard Dean was still a plausible presidential candidate. But here we are—in 2014–and ComedySportz New York City has reached the double-digits. And we’re kicking off our year-long birthday celebration on April 26!

Here what’s happening: On Saturday, April 26 at 6 pm, a shrewdly selected roster of ComedySportz NYC all-stars will pull out all the stops (as well as the champagne corks) (champagne not guaranteed) (champagne really, really not guaranteed) and perform a spectacular Match of the Decade consisting entirely of the improv gamez our fanz love most! It all goes down at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd Street. Tickets are $15 in advance/ $20 at the door.

ComedySportz NYC’s 10th Anniversary Spectacular is the comedy show they’ll be talking about for the next ten years.

ABOUT COMEDYSPORTZ

ComedySportz® New York City is an all-ages friendly, fast-paced improv comedy show that’s been making NYC audiences laugh since 2004. They do comedy shows every Saturday at 6 pm that are great for the whole family, great for business entertainment and great for groups of all types.

Recap:

ComedySportz NYC: 10th Anniversary Spectacular

Improv Comedy Show featuring an all-star lineup and all fan-favorite gamez!

Saturday, April 26 at 6 pm at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd Street. Tickets are $15 in advance/ $20 at the door.

 

Tickets: Tickets may be reserved over the phone at 646-580-0291 or online at https://csznewyork.com/info-and-tickets/tickets/ . More information about ComedySportz New York City can be found at www.csznewyork.com

 

 

ComedySportz March Madness

cszMarchMadnessFinalCOMEDYSPORTZ LAUNCHES ITS ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS IMPROV COMEDY SERIES

The ComedySportz Theatre announced today the challengers for their annual March Madness comedy series. The annual improv tournament pits the ComedySportz ensemble against unlikely competitors. Always popular with loyal ComedySportz fans, shows are for three consecutive Saturday nights  at 6pm. This year the match ups include ComedySportz vs. Nerds, ComedySportz vs. Shakespeare and ComedySportz vs. Puppets.

     “March Madness is really fun for our fans,” says ComedySportz performer and March Madness Team Member Tamara Nolte  “Normally we play our ComedySportz matches against each other but during March Madness we take on competitors that change the expectations for our fans and leave all of us, even the players, cracking up.”

ComedySportz vs. Nerds- March 15, 2014 at 6pm

ComedySportz vs. Puppets – March 22, 2014 at 6pm

ComedySportz vs. Shakespeare – March 29, 2014 at 6pm

WHERE: Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd

COST: $15 per ticket in advance, $20 at the door.

NOTE: Appropriate for all ages.

Tickets: Tickets may be reserved over the phone at 646-580-0291 or online at https://csznewyork.com/info-and-tickets/tickets/ . More information about ComedySportz New York City can be found at www.csznewyork.com

 

Players Spotlight: Anna Abhau Elliott

anna-abhau-elliott

Anna Anna bo-bana

banana fana fo fana
me mi mo mana Anna

If you haven’t guessed by that lovely homage to The Name Game, this month’s Player’s Spotlight is dedicated to Anna Abhau Elliott.

Anna, one of our newer players, is originally from Philadelphia (the Mount Airy section, to be exact). Growing up, she was a fan of ComedySportz Philly, and she started improv while in high school. She was chosen to participate in an avant garde magic show in New York; and throughout high school, she performed improv with This Side Up, a division of the MacGuffin Theatre and Film Company.

Moving forward a decade or so, Anna graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU with a BFA in Drama and a minor in history. Anna says she “didn’t participate in much improv because of her rigorous studies;” however, she and a few friends did create performances of “devised theater.” Specifically, they wrote a play entitled Home/Sick,which was mounted at Wesleyan University in January of this year.

So, how did Anna get involved with ComedySportz NYC? She took a improv workshop at ComedySportz Los Angeles, and the teacher was former CSz NYC player John Woodruff. He suggested she audition for CSz NYC, and the rest is (almost) a year of history.

Watching Anna play, it looks like she’s really enjoying the game. When I asked how her year has been, she replied, “Fun. I still get really nervous before shows and it is scary sometimes to play games that I’ve never played before, but everyone is very supportive.” Two games that she really enjoys are New Choice and ThreeThingz. She describes New Choice as “fun and weird.” When commenting on Three Things, she says, “If you get it right, it’s thrilling. If you get it very wrong, it’s still entertaining. It’s so surreal.”

When reflecting on comedy, Anna says, “Just making the simplest choice is really funny.” In comparing stand-up to improv, “the best joke (in writing) doesn’t always make the audience laugh. It’s weird what makes something a joke. You can aspire to make some beautiful souffle of a joke that comes together but, especially withComedySportz, you don’t have time. Just give the people what they want. You can trust the architecture of the game and not overcomplicate things.”

Anna says that her playing style is “psyched! with obscure/off kilter references…while aspiring to be simple and elegant.” Hearing all of Anna’s interesting points of view, I finally asked her, “If you could tell yourself something a year from now, what would it be?” Her reply: “I’m proud of you.”

And we’re proud of you, too, Anna.

About the Author: Michelle Francesca Thomas is a five-year improv veteran, an Essex County, NJ, native, and a lover of comedy. She has studied improv at the PIT and UCB and can been seen performing with ComedySportzNYC at the Broadway Comedy Club.