This post bears bad news. ComedySportz Los Angeles is in trouble, and they need help. At this point, they are planning on closing their doors at the end of October, after 22 years of continuous performances (it is the longest running show in Los Angeles). I can't even begin to explain how deeply my heart sank when I received an email from the theatre explaining that the lousy economy is finally taking its toll on the theatre.
Let me explain. I first heard about ComedySportz in high school, when I discovered that a friend's high school had a High School League team at their school. ComedySportz is improvisational comedy played as a team sport (think Whose Line Is It Anyway? but better) - two teams compete for audience laughs, performing scenes based on audience suggestions. There's turf, a referee, fouls, and uniforms. Every show is different, and a lot of fun, but it also a wonderful learning tool for its players.
Soon after learning about ComedySportz, I talked to my school's theatre director and we decided to bring CSz HSL to our school. I organized a team, my friend Taylor was the assistant coach, and the rest is history. We competed against local high schools, attended trainings, and had professional coaching from the ComedySportz pros. Personally, I know I learned how to be a good team member, how to think creatively and how to present myself with confidence even when I felt nervous or when put on the spot. My friend Danny said it better (here), but I can say from experience that improvisation teaches many valuable skills, and ComedySportz Los Angeles provides unbelievable opportunities for students at all levels.
After high school, I wanted to continue my ComedySportz education (and fun!), and though I was working for the theatre part-time as a ticket-taker/concessions girl, there weren't many opportunities for those of us in between high school and the professional league. My friend Nick (a leader in his high school's program) and I met with the directors and decided to start a College League. I'm proud to say that the College League is still going strong, and that other shows have developed as well (including the hit high school spoof, The High). Even after my schedule got too hectic for regular practices, I continued to stay connected to the theatre, attending shows and keeping tabs on my second family.
This theatre company has been a huge part of my life for the last ten years, and the thought of its closure makes my heart hurt. I've seen them grow from a tiny company, sharing a tiny theatre with other theatre companies to having their own two room, multi-functional, beautiful theatre space. I honestly can't talk about it without welling up with tears, because people, this place was home. Reading comments from other fans and former "actletes"reminds me that I'm not alone. So many people have been positively affected by ComedySportz Los Angeles, and it would be a real loss to the community for it to simply disappear.
The good news is that they may be able to stave off closure if they sell enough tickets for upcoming shows, and they are selling heavily discounted ticket packages right now. They're not asking for handouts; they're just asking you to buy tickets to the show. You can see more information about their current situation and how you can help here. If you are in Los Angeles, I strongly urge you to go. It is a guaranteed good time, seriously (and the fouls guarantee a family-friendly good time). If you've never been to a show, now is your chance! If you have been in the past, but not recently, well here's your change to save a wonderful company from going under.
Now obviously, I am not in Los Angeles, and I know many of you are not either. If you still want to help, you can donate via the donation button on their Loyal Fans website. OR, you can buy a ticket package and give it away to a friend in Los Angeles, or donate it to ComedySportz Los Angeles to give away on your behalf.
I don't often reach out to my readers on behalf of other causes, but this is so close to my heart, I feel compelled to help however I can. To kick things off, I am giving away a 4-ticket pack. You can gather three friends and go to a show together, go to four shows yourself, or give them away to family or friends in the Los Angeles area! It's up to you.
To enter, just leave a comment below. I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 (enter by 11:59pm on Tuesday, September 7th).
Thank you for listening, and for helping if you can. If you are at all moved, or care about sustaining theatre and helping out an incredible arts program, please spread the word.